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What’s Wrong With Dodd-Frank? The GOP Says It Has the Answer

microphoneThe Republicans vying for the presidential nomination may have disagreed on many topics in Tuesday’s nationally televised debate, but they all pretty much agree on one thing—they don’t like Dodd-Frank.

Since the controversial Wall Street reform and consumer protection law was enacted in 2010, Republicans have decried it and made numerous attempts to roll it back. Critics of Dodd-Frank say it is overregulating the financial industry and has negatively affected Main Street though it was intended to reform Wall Street. They say Dodd-Frank makes big banks bigger and crushes community banks. They have criticized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created out of Dodd-Frank, saying the Bureau does not protect consumers but in fact makes credit tighter and more expensive to obtain.

During the debate, Florida Senator and GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio called Dodd-Frank an “outrage” that codified too big to fail instead of ending it as it set out to do, or claims to have done. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, now competing for the GOP presidential nomination, criticized the “vast overreach” of Dodd-Frank during Tuesday’s debate. Yet another candidate, former U.S. Congressman and current Ohio Governor John Kasich, said that Dodd-Frank did not solve Wall Street’s real problem, which is “too much greed,” he said. Interestingly, for years Kasich worked in the investment banking division for Lehman Brothers, the massive financial services firm that famously declared bankruptcy in September 2008.

The GOP presidential hopefuls were not the only ones attacking Dodd-Frank on Tuesday, however. American Action Network, a right-leaning Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, paid for a commercial spot during the debate which painted the CFPB as a communist organization that even included a backdrop of gigantic red-shaded banners of CFPB Director Richard Cordray and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), whose efforts are largely responsible for launching the Bureau.

The CFPB did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the TV spot, but Warren had plenty to say about it through Twitter on Wednesday, the day after the debate. “So... Can we talk about that ad that just ran during the #GOPDebate where I look like a Commie dictator?” she tweeted. Warren defended the Bureau by saying, “Wall Street has a problem: They know the @CFPB is working, & it's incredibly popular with the families it helps” and “The @CFPB has forced the big financial companies to return more than $11B to people they cheated on credit cards, mortgages, etc.”

After tweeting that “Wall Street knows if they soften @CFPB support, the GOP will feel better undercutting the agency in closed-door deals,” Warren had a parting shot for lawmakers who are fighting to reform the CFPB: “So here's my message to Wall Street & their GOP buddies: we're ready to fight back to protect the @CFPB.”

Some are saying the attacks on the CFPB will come back to haunt the GOP, painting them as being against consumers and in favor of predatory financial practices. Even Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton weighed in on the issue via Twitter.

The TV spot that ran Tuesday several times during the debate may have just been a primer—some reports suggest that the American Action Network will produce more ads attempting to discredit the CFPB. And the debate will continue.


About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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