Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the presidential campaign is that so many down-and-out people voted for Donald Trump with the idea he would help them. No. Now, he is going to help rich people rob you.
Today we have two widely expected pieces of financial lawmaking news from the Trump administration: Gary Cohn—who went directly from the president’s office at Goldman Sachs to take a job as Trump’s top financial advisor—says that the White House will begin plans for “scaling back” the Dodd-Frank law, which was Congress’s best attempt to make our financial system safer in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. On top of that, the Trump administration will also halt the implementation of the fiduciary rule, the purpose of which was to prevent financial advisers from ripping you off.
I am not exaggerating. The point of the fiduciary rule was that when you, the average person, go in to some financial adviser to learn what you should invest in for your retirement, you should be able to know that that advisor is recommending investments because they are good for you, and not because they are earning some kickback on the investment. In other words it protected consumers from predatory behavior from their hired financial experts. The one and only reason to roll back this rule is to allow people to once again be exploited by financial professionals—to allow them to make more money for themselves by costing you money. (Here is a good explanation of why the objections to the fiduciary rule are dishonest bullshit). It is extremely straightforward. The Trump administration has gained power and will now use that power to allow a small class of money people to exploit everyone else. The Dodd-Frank rules are a bit more arcane, but the general reason for dismantling them is the same: to allow Wall Street to make more money. Our financial system is about to get both more dangerous and more exploitative. This is the outcome of the “blue collar billionaire” who fed people slogans about “Draining the Swamp” and then immediately turned over our government regulatory system to Wall Street insiders.
Regular people do not win from these actions. The rich win and you lose. I know that “fiduciary rule” is not a very poetic or attractive term, but all you need to know is that these people are—I am not exaggerating—doing this for the express purpose of ripping you off. They will get more money out of you and you will get nothing of value. That is what’s happening. Remember that every time you see these people smile for the next four years. Every time that you hear Republicans speak of themselves as the guardians of fiscal responsibility and protector of the common man, remember that their policy is explicitly to allow a con man in a suit to steer grandma into a too-expensive mutual fund that will leave her with less money to live on so that he can put more money in his own pocket. This is what it comes down to: money. More for them, and less for you. Forever and ever amen.