The effort to repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and reform American financial regulation seems to be losing traction. Although the House voted 233-186 last week to pass Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s ambitious and substantive Financial Choice Act, it is unlikely to come to a vote in the Senate soon. The Treasury this week released the first installment of its own blueprint for reform, another good step. But the urgency of action has been lost as the Trump administration struggles to find its footing on tax cuts, health care and the budget.
Unfortunately, delay is damaging. Financial regulation since 2009 has been a trifecta of failure: It has not achieved its stated objectives, yet has imposed enormous costs on banks and the economy, while creating Kafkaesque procedures that deform democracy by undermining the rule of law. With respect to missed targets, consider a few examples:
• The 2009 CARD Act sought to protect risky credit-card borrowers from high bank charges. Instead the law has pushed these borrowers into the shadow consumer-finance system.