Trump team makes it easier for banks to tank the world economy again


Trump and his appointees are weakening the very rules intended to prevent big banks from causing another global economic meltdown.

Ten years after the Great Recession, Trump and Republicans are easing regulations on big banks and other institutions that wreaked havoc on the global economy.

Described as a "big win for the financial industry" by the New York Times, federal regulators on Wednesday announced a pair of decisions rolling back regulations the Obama administration put in place following the 2008 financial crisis. The new rules will help both big banks and huge non-bank financials institutions avoid government oversight.

For big banks, the Federal Reserve will change how they administer and grade annual "stress tests." In the past, this was a pass-or-fail test, with the results publicly available. These annual tests evaluate whether or not banks have enough capital in reserve to deal with economic meltdowns like the U.S. saw in 2008.

After years of the banks complaining that the tests were too time-consuming, the Federal Reserve is making changes so it "no longer flunk banks based on operational or risk management lapses," according to Reuters.

In a separate move, also announced Wednesday, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) declared that massive non-bank institutions like insurers and asset management firms will no longer be considered "systemically important." The designation, which formerly applied to companies like insurance giant AIG, led to stricter oversight by government regulators.

The twin deregulation efforts come on the heels of banks saw their profits soar by billions in 2018 after the corporate tax rate was dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent. Yet these same banks complained about the cost and time required for stress tests to keep the global economy safe.

The move by regulators drew concern from watchdog groups. The lack of pass-fail grades on the stress test "reduces transparency and deprives the public of the ability to hold the banks and regulators accountable," Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, told the Times. "The markets are not going to have the full picture."

In the end, the combination of the GOP tax scam and massive deregulation of big banks show the priorities of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. Trump and Republicans will always side with big banks, even if it increases the risk of another economic catastrophe.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.