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By MARK JONES and MATT BROWN, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has a reputation for making it tough for Americans to take on big banks, but in recent years he has done little to make it harder for American workers.
In a new report, a former White House financial-policy adviser said the president does not really care about the financial-services sector at all.
The report, released Friday by the Center for American Progress, was authored by the former George Mitchell, who served as the deputy chief of staff in the Trump White House and is now a senior fellow at CAP.
It notes that the financial services sector has benefited greatly from the Obama administration’s effort to regulate it and that the administration was particularly successful in helping small banks to become “transformational companies.”
The report notes that financial services firms in 2016 reported $6.4 trillion in revenue and $2.2 trillion in profits.
The sector accounts for about half of U.S. employment and about one-third of the economy.
Mitchell, in an interview with The Associated Press, said that Trump “has a very different view of what the economy is” and that Trump’s approach to the financial industry has been a long-running and consistent refrain from the White House.
Mitchell said Trump has consistently “tried to undercut the role of banks, to make sure they don’t play a big role in our economy, because it’s too important to be controlled by one institution.”
The financial-sector industry employs about 12 million Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mitchell pointed to Trump’s decision to block new rules from taking effect that would have required financial firms to disclose more information about their activities to regulators.
He said the bank-industry-friendly Trump administration is now considering the repeal of a law that requires companies to disclose their financial-disclosure statements.
Mitchell says Trump has tried to make the financial sector appear as if it is a one-size-fits-all institution and that he would like to see the financial firms become more like retail companies.
Mitchell told the AP he believes that Trump does not have a “political agenda” for the financial markets, and that his administration is “really focused on making sure that the banks are doing well and working hard and that there’s no room for financial regulation.”
He added: “I think there’s a very large constituency for this.”
The president has been criticized by the banking industry for his efforts to reduce financial regulation.
His efforts to roll back regulations, and to appoint a financial-industries-friendly regulator, have been met with criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
The banking industry has also accused the Trump administration of undermining efforts to create a strong national banking system by imposing more regulations and limiting the ability of smaller banks to compete.
The financial sector employs about 14 million people, according for the BLS.
The Wall to Wall Fund, which advocates for financial-regulation reform, called the report a “great opportunity to shine a light on the economic and financial policy agenda that President Trump has put forth.”
In a statement, the Trump Organization said the report “provides a comprehensive view of how the Trump Administration has tried its best to regulate the financial and economic sectors.”
“Our view is that our country has been well served by President Trump’s efforts to strengthen the economic recovery by reducing regulations, reforming banking and the financial system, and protecting Americans’ financial security and freedom,” the statement said.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with the Administration to ensure that all Americans can be successful in the financial economy and the broader economy.”