Five years ago today, I attended the bill signing for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which promised to restore sensible safeguards and standards for the financial sector so that the devastation of the financial crisis felt mostly by low- and middle-income Americans would not be repeated.
Given the David and Goliath odds that reformers faced in challenging the sector with the most influence in Washington, we had much to celebrate—and still do.
Dodd-Frank includes many important reforms, from bulwarks against the systemic risks of casino capitalism to protection against predatory consumer lending. It's already benefited the nation in many ways, from implementing common-sense regulations that reduce the risk of another financial crisis to creating a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to enforce the rules and empower consumers, saving them billions of dollars in the process. Just yesterday, the Federal Reserve used its Dodd-Frank authority to add new financial disincentives against size and risk for the eight largest banks.
However, Demos and our allies within the coalition of Americans for Financial Reform knew even during its passage that the Dodd-Frank bill aimed to preserve the financial system, rather than restructuring it fundamentally to make it serve the real economy. But today we still need to build the political will and intellectual case for deeper reform, while also combating the financial sector lobbyists who are trying to impede implementation and roll back the law.
In the report The Rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act & Financial Deregulation, Demos researchers Wallace Turbeville and Lenore Palladino outline some of the financial reform targets that are likely to be the subject of debate over the next two years. They make clear that despite a financial sector that cost the world over $20 trillion in lost household wealth seven years ago, the fight for sensible regulations must go on.
From the moment Dodd-Frank was signed into law, Wall Street started its push to undermine and undo the crucial reforms meant to protect consumers like you and me. On today's anniversary, tell Congress to stop these attempts to weaken Dodd-Frank and the CFPB.