COLUMN: The Financial CHOICE Act is Needed to Create Jobs and Opportunities for Americans
The months following the 2008 financial crisis were devastating for many Americans. Hardworking men and women lost their jobs, their savings, their pensions, and their homes. But instead of taking steps to strengthen consumer protections and bring stability to the financial system, Congress and the Obama Administration responded with the Dodd-Frank Act.
This piece of legislation and its associated financial regulations made an already complex regulatory environment even more complicated, made “too big to fail” the law of the land, and ultimately created new barriers for individuals and families seeking to better their lives.
To understand the negative impact that the Dodd-Frank Act has had on communities across the country, we must look at the effect that the law and its associated regulations have had on the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which is the aggregate measure of economic growth. In May 2015, the American Action Forum (AAF) estimated that Dodd-Frank would reduce GDP by $895 billion between 2016 and 2025. In 2016, the U.S. saw only 1.6 percent GDP growth, and the Congressional Budget Office has predicted long-term average GDP growth of only 2 percent.
What does this mean for the average American? The GDP is directly related to the U.S. standard of living, which is defined as the “degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community.” An analysis by the AAF shows that 2 percent GDP growth combined with 1 percent projected population growth translates to only 1 percent per capita GDP growth. At only 1 percent per capita GDP growth, it will take the average person roughly 70 years to double their standard of living.
This projection is startling, especially when we think about young adults who are entering the workforce in their twenties. In 2015, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute showed that on average, young high school graduates working full-time had an annual income of $21,600. Young college graduates working full time had an average annual income of $37,300. With only 2 percent GDP growth, the average young person would have to work well into their nineties to double their income.
It doesn’t sound like we are setting our kids on a prosperous path, does it?
Under the leadership of Chairman Jeb Hensarling, the Financial Services Committee has developed the Financial CHOICE – creating hope and opportunity for investors, consumers, and entrepreneurs – Act to help jumpstart our economy and create more jobs and opportunities for families and individuals across the country.
Among the many provisions included in the Financial CHOICE Act is my bill, the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk (TAILOR) Act. The TAILOR Act will help reform one-size-fits-all regulations and restore job creation on Main Street by ensuring community banks in Colorado aren’t regulated the same way as the big banks on Wall Street.
Additional provisions in the CHOICE Act:
- Impose some of the toughest penalties in history for financial fraud;
- Prevent another tax-payer bailout by requiring greater capital reserves for any financial institution seeking relief from onerous regulations;
- Reduce obstacles for small businesses seeking credit and capital in order to promote job creation;
- Roll back regulatory taxes that are restricting families’ access to financial services like free checking accounts.
It is well past time that Congress remedy the consequences of Dodd-Frank and our overly complicated financial regulatory system. The Financial CHOICE Act will help individuals and families say goodbye to the policies that are holding them back, and I’m looking forward to delivering these important reforms to Coloradans and all Americans.