Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bank deregulation and the Democratic Party 2018

Congress just passed a new bank deregulation bill with the usual propaganda name, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. A more descriptive one would have been the Financial Destabilization Act.

David Dayen at The Intercept has been following the bill and writing about its effects. In Democrats Offer Last-Minute, Pretend Defense of Fair Lending Laws, As They Prepare to Weaken Them 03/12/2018, he gives a good example of how conservative Democrats construct alibis for voting for bad Republican laws.

In this case, the bill had to have Democratic support in the Senate to prevent a filibuster from stopping it. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer opposed it. But 16 Senate Democrats voted for it, including Independent Angus King who caucuses with the Democrats, allowing it to pass. Here is the list from the Senate website:

Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Doug Jones (D-AL)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Angus King (I-ME)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Ben Nelson (D-FL)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Mark Warner (D-VA)

The list includes the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate for 2016, Tim Kaine and press favorites like Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Debbie Stabenow, and Mark Warner. Heitkamp and Warner signed on as co-authors. It weakens regulations on mortgage lending for smaller banks and reduces reporting requirements aimed at detecting illegal discrimination in lending.

It won't be the last that the banking lobby will push (Zachary Warmbrodt, Senate passes deregulation bill scaling back Dodd-Frank Politico 03/14/2018):
While the bill is a huge victory for bank lobbyists who have been working to curb Dodd-Frank since it was first drafted, the industry will keep pushing lawmakers and regulators for carve-outs in the years to come.

"This is a first step," American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols said.
Jamellle Bouie explains why this is yet another kick in the face to the Democratic base (Democrats Back a Bank Bill That Could Hurt Black Homebuyers Slate 03/14/2018):
A provision in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act would exempt the large majority of mortgage lenders from key disclosure requirements that help the government identify racial discrimination and enforce fair housing laws. The provision would facilitate redlining, allowing lenders to deny loans to black homebuyers, while also giving lenders carte blanche to overcharge black homebuyers or steer them into the same predatory loans that exploded during the financial crisis, pushing countless families into foreclosure.

Yet this bill, which would widen the already staggering racial wealth gap, won support from more than a dozen Democratic senators, including members such as Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Claire McCaskill, and Doug Jones who rely on black and Hispanic voters to win elections. (The bill is also backed by one independent, Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats.)
I hope progressive Democrats won't overlook this Republican vote by Doug Jones. Strong bank regulation should be a no-brainer for Democrats. But Jones got elected in a tough race by running as an unapologetic Democrat with a strong Democratic turnout and enthusiastic support from black voters.

And then he turns around and kicks his voters in the teeth with this vote. This is not a good thing.

Drew Magary provides a good summary of why (The Democrats Can't Stop Using the Same Broken Playbook GQ 03/07/2018):
It makes no sense. Blessed with a touch of momentum going into the 2018 midterms, Chuck Schumer and his colleagues have decided that the best way to “win” is to build up their fundraising apparatus, reach out across party lines, and pass legislation that serves banks more than it serves people… legislation friendly enough to conservative folk that Senators like Tester (Montana) and McCaskill (Missouri) can sell it to their red state constituents and not have them get too mad.

This is the DNC's game plan, and it blows.

It’s an enraging time to be an American, and one of the most frustrating things about it is that the opposition party - the only one with the money and infrastructure to take on a Republican party that is now a de facto criminal enterprise - still leads and acts as if everything is Fine, and that we are not in a state of absolute crisis. I know Barack Obama is venerated for the speech he made at the DNC in 2004 that unofficially introduced him as a presidential contender, but he vastly overrated the value of bipartisanship that night. That Pollyanna mindset would continue haunt him through a great deal of his presidency, as Republicans openly schemed to destroy him at every turn. And, as a final insult, they’ve spent the past year feverishly, and hatefully, working to dismantle his legacy. Time and again, Democrats think the only way to win elections is to NOT fully be Democrats, and this bill is the toxic runoff of that discredited philosophy. Too many Democratic leaders and thinkers are beholden to a bullshit fever dream of civility that has led to staggering electoral losses and Republicans gleefully stripping lower income Americans of their rights and bodies.
Yes, it's a problem.

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