After Railing Against 'Rigged' Economy, Trump Readies to Rig It Even More
After running a campaign that blasted the “rigged” economy, President-elect Donald Trump appears set to rig it even further—in favor of corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which enforces a wide range of financial rules, will see major changes under the Trump administration, mostly in the form of slashed regulations.
“[T]here is an inherent contradiction between Donald Trump’s anti-Wall Street rhetoric along with talk of ‘draining the swamp’ to make the government work for the people, and his likely Wall Street appointments to run big government agencies that regulate the financial sector to protect regular Americans.”
—Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen
“Trump’s decision to tap former Republican SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins to help manage the Trump team’s transition efforts at the SEC and other financial agencies offers a window into some other changes that could be in store,” according to the news agency, which noted: “Atkins’ well-known conservative views on everything from enforcement penalties to corporate governance are likely to be reflected in the SEC’s agenda.”
A new rule requiring companies to disclose the pay ratio between their CEO and median employee—established by Dodd-Frank and set to go into effect on January 1, 2017—is “on the chopping block,” says Reuters, along with the SEC’s conflict minerals rule, which aims to establish whether companies source minerals from war-torn regions of Africa.
Also “dead for now,” the outlet writes, “is any prospect of the SEC approving a tough fiduciary rule for financial advisers.” The Department of Labor (DOL) this year issued its own version of the rule, seeking to protect retirement savers from Wall Street brokers by requiring that financial professionals who service individual retirement accounts to place clients’ interests above their own. The SEC’s version would apply to brokers and investment advisers providing personalized investment advice of any sort.
The GOP has been attempting to dismantle the DOL’s rule since its inception, without success. But Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) told a gathering of mutual fund company representatives earlier this year that electing a Republican president would offer “a great chance to overturn some of this stuff.” And on the day after the election, at least one financial adviser said Trump’s win “puts DOL fiduciary in play.”
“I am confident that our Republican-led Congress and President Trump will work together to end this egregious rule,” Rep. Ann Wagner (R.-Mo.) told the Wall Street Journal this week.
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