Trump takes aim at U.S. financial oversight law

U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders Friday aimed at reviewing American financial laws and laying the groundwork for what he called a “great economic revival.”

Key among them was a six-month review of core parts of the Dodd-Frank law, a measure passed by predecessor Barack Obama in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis that put “too big to fail” U.S. financial groups under additional regulator scrutiny.

Trump has vowed to dismantle Dodd-Frank, calling it a “disaster.” He argues it is too onerous on lenders, making it difficult for American businesses — like his Trump Organization — to get credit.

“In many cases, rules have done the opposite of what they were supposed to,” Trump said Friday as he signed the orders at the Treasury Department.

Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010 with the goal of preventing U.S. firms from making risky bets in the financial market in the way the now-bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers did.

But Trump said it was part of Obama-era regulations “that fail to hold Wall Street firms accountable.”

He added: “These regulations enshrine ‘too big to fail’ and encourage risky behavior.”

Another executive order signed directs Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to look over Dodd-Frank’s provision for the orderly liquidation of distressed companies, and to see whether tinkering with bankruptcy law might give better results.

A third order calls on Mnuchin to look at simplifying America’s complicated tax regulations, to feed into later reforms meant to reduce taxes on the middle class and businesses.

“We are now in the process of rebuilding America, and there’s a new optimism sweeping across the country like people have not seen in many, many decades,” Trump said.

“We’re taking steps to make our economy more fair and prosperous for all,” he said.

Trump inherited a US economy with low unemployment and solid gross domestic product growth of 1.6 percent.

Trump has pledged to return the United States to annual growth rates of three percent or higher, a feat many economists say is unrealistic without productivity gains and increases in the size of the labor force.

© 2017 AFP

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