Huffington Post seems to think Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is entertainment rather than politics. This leads you to wonder if they have been paying attention over there to the United States House of Representatives and John Boehner’s shenanigans for the past six-and-a-half years.
Perhaps to fill us with dismay, Boehner has assigned the task of lying to the American people this week to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, yet another in a long line of dishonest Texas Republicans, who, we are told, “discusses Republicans’ commitment to protect hardworking families and small business owners from the job-crushing Dodd-Frank law, which President Obama signed five years ago this week.”
So here we go, digging into things Obama (not Bush!) did years ago rather than doing some work today – say, creating jobs, taxing the wealthy or corporations, or at least actually regulating, instead of pretending to stand up to Wall Street. Here is the big lie, the talking point around which all that follows is based:
KEY QUOTE: “If we want strong economic growth, more freedom and an end to bailouts, it’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last. House Republicans are working to do just that. Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts, have a healthier economy, and protect consumer choice.”
Watch at your own risk:
Remarks of Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas
Weekly Republican Address
Financial Services Committee Hearing Room
July 18, 2015
Hello, I’m Jeb Hensarling, Congressman for the Fifth District of Texas and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Five years ago this week President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act. You may not have heard of Dodd-Frank, but it’s essentially Obamacare for our economy and your household finances.
And just like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank has left us with fewer choices, higher costs and less freedom.
Now, the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed devastated millions of Americans. But instead of preventing the crisis, misguided Washington policies helped lead us into it – policies that either strong-armed or enticed financial institutions into loaning money to people to buy homes they couldn’t afford to keep.
That was wrong.
It wasn’t deregulation that caused the crisis. It was Washington’s dumb regulations.
Then, and now, House Republicans have offered an alternative to Dodd-Frank that would have ended taxpayer-funded bailouts and protected consumers.
But in typical Washington fashion, Democrats instead by passing a 2,300-page bill that did not solve the crisis but in my ways made it worse. When President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law five years ago with much fanfare and celebration, we were told it would ‘lift the economy,’ ‘end too big to fail’ and ‘increase financial stability.’ It didn’t happen.
But, Dodd-Frank did nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the epicenter of the crisis. It enshrined taxpayer-funded bailouts and ‘too big to fail’ into law, and it imposed 400 new burdensome, job-destroying regulations upon our economy.
And the harm to consumers has been real, very real. We continue to be mired in lackluster, halting economic growth. Middle income paychecks are nearly 12,000 dollars less compared to the average post-war economic recovery. It is now harder for credit-worthy Americans to buy a home. In fact, one-out-of-five who borrowed to buy a home just five years ago will not meet the underwriting requirements of Dodd-Frank’s mortgage rules. According to the Federal Reserve, that’ll hit roughly one-third of Hispanic and African-American borrowers.
Since Dodd-Frank, the big banks have gotten bigger and the small banks are now fewer. Today there are fewer community banks and credit unions serving the needs of small businesses and families. Local financial institutions tell us they can’t keep up with the sheer weight, volume and complexity of Dodd-Frank’s regulations. In fact, because of Dodd-Frank, we’re losing on average one community financial institution per day. It’s no wonder that small business deaths outnumber small business births for the first time in 35 years.
It is also now more expensive for American companies to raise working capital that’s needed to grow and create jobs.
Services that we all once took for granted – like free checking – are being curtailed or eliminated because of Dodd-Frank. Before, 75 percent of banks offered free checking. Just two years after Dodd-Frank became law, that number was cut almost in half.
And bank fees have also increased due to Dodd-Frank’s costs. This has led to a rise in the number of low and moderate income Americans who simply can’t afford to maintain a checking or savings account.
Not long after the financial crisis, we heard the cry from the Left to “Occupy Wall Street.” But hardworking taxpayers aren’t interested in Occupying Wall Street. They just want to quit bailing it out.
Yet Dodd-Frank enshrines “Too Big to Fail” into law. It gives Washington bureaucrats the power to officially designate large financial firms “Too Big to Fail” and then makes them eligible for bailouts. That’s wrong. We have to absolutely end bailouts — period.
It is evident that Dodd-Frank has made us less prosperous and less free. It has meant lost opportunities and frustrated dreams for millions hoping to start a small business, buy a home or plan for a secure retirement.
If we want strong economic growth, more freedom and an end to bailouts, it’s time we commit to making sure this anniversary is Dodd-Frank’s last anniversary.
House Republicans are working to do just that. Together, we can end Wall Street bailouts, have a healthier economy, and protect consumer choice.
Thanks for listening.
Obviously, it was not regulating Wall Street that caused the Great Recession of 2008. It was deregulation. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2008, like the Affordable Care Act, may not be perfect, but it did not make things worse; it made things better. But this is a world, remember in which freedom is tyranny and tyranny is freedom, and where giving money to rich people somehow makes poor people prosperous.
The lies presented here are both profound and obvious, egregious distortions of the past. Hensarling dismisses the #Occupy movement as somehow ungenuine, but his unsupported claims do not diminish the justified outrage of working class Americans at Wall Street, banking, and corporate misdeeds.
Hillary Clinton has dealt with the GOP’s fake concern for small businesses, and President Obama has already vetoed Republican attempts to gut Wall Street reform and destroy the economy all over again for the benefit of the 1 percent.
This is more of the same song and dance we have become all too familiar with, the same tired lies of bygone years. As before, there is nothing here beyond vague Republican assurances that the GOP loves us and that by deregulating wealthy corporations and banks, our beneficent masters will see to our every need.
Talk is cheap, but this sort of talk, put into action, would be very expensive indeed.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.