Trump has a solid record, but he’s too busy making noise to tout it.
If a tree falls in a noisy circus, does it make a sound? If the Trump administration announces its largest deregulatory effort to date while the president is in the throes of a Twitter rampage, will anybody pay attention?
No, and thereon may hang the balance of Republican congressional control. It’s never clear where Donald Trump gets political advice, if he does at all. What is clear is that this White House is doing an able job of whiffing one of the best political messages in decades, a reality that is demoralizing administration insiders and GOP candidates alike.
.. The Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department released a plan—announced on the website of these pages—to ax the Obama administration’s car-emissions standards, saving consumers $500 billion. Dollarwise, it may be the biggest deregulation ever.
.. The Treasury has recommended rescinding the “payday lending” rule, which threatened to cut off the poorest Americans from viable credit.
.. The Internal Revenue Service lifted a political threat to nonprofits by allowing them to shield the names of their donors.
.. The Department of Health and Human Services finalized its rule allowing more non-ObamaCare insurance options to millions of Americans. The Senate sent a $717 billion defense authorization bill to the White House, increasing active-duty strength and providing troops their largest pay raise in nine years. The Senate also confirmed the 24th Trump circuit-court judge.
.. The Labor Department released new numbers showing worker compensation increased 2.8% year over year, the fastest pace in a decade
.. Republicans have long known they don’t get a fair hearing from the press, which is why they shifted to talk radio and other alternative media. Mr. Trump understands that better than most—thus his heavy use of Twitter, live rallies and press conferences.
.. The president is certainly focused on his base, though with an eye to whipping them up with rallies focused primarily on the polarizing issues of trade and immigration. His tweets revolve around the same issues—those and Mr. Mueller—and are often defensive or whiny.
.. If Mr. Trump makes those centrists believe this election is about family separation, Republicans lose. If he refocuses it on voters’ newly thriving prospects, Republicans have a shot.
.. One remarkable aspect of the Trump administration is its productivity. The cabinet set a pace of reform in its openings weeks that has never lagged. If Mr. Trump isn’t going to spend every day embracing, elevating and making this product of his own presidency the dominant discussion, then no one will. The press isn’t going to do it. Democrats sure aren’t. And no other Republican has that megaphone.
Many families in Tchula, Miss., struggle to make ends meet with a patchwork of jobs and high-interest loans. Community leaders and the town’s only bank try to help, but the cycle of despair isn’t easily broken. Photo: Clara Ritger/The Wall Street Journal
.. To allow the CFPB to work quickly, lawmakers designed the bureau to be independent, stating that its single director could only be dismissed by the president for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office” and insulating its budget from congressional oversight... Republican lawmakers and the financial industry have long said the agency’s rules and supervisory and enforcement activities have increased compliance costs and reduced credit availability for vulnerable consumers the bureau was created to protect.
While Trump bashed Wall Street throughout the campaign, the financial services industry is hoping his victory, coupled with a GOP-led Congress, could open a path forward to easing regulations... “To say the world has changed is an understatement,” one bank lobbyist said. “The defensive issues we were concerned about we can be less concerned about. And we can start thinking about, to some degree, an affirmative agenda. … We didn’t have a plan B, so now everyone’s got to come up with a plan B.”.. One area where Trump could have the biggest impact is on the CFPB, the agency set up by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism.The transition may jeopardize CFPB regulations aimed at curbing payday lending and the mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from taking companies to court... On the legislative side, small and regional banks, as well as credit unions, are well-positioned to see some regulatory relief, with political support from Republicans and moderate Democrats... Regional banks in particular have seen a change to their calculus. A coalition of regional lenders and credit card companies has been lobbying Congress to overhaul a section of Dodd-Frank that requires banks with more than $50 billion in assets to be subject to so-called enhanced prudential standards... Still, it’s unclear how Trump would square his populist rhetoric with the free market leanings of the broader Republican Party... The people leading Trump’s transition efforts indicate friendliness toward Wall Street and other financial firms, including his selection of former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins to help fill posts at independent financial agencies. Atkins has said “one could write a book about the various problems with the statutory text and implementation” of Dodd-Frank. He is the chief executive of Patomak Global Partners, a financial services consulting firm staffed with former regulators... “There is an inherent contradiction between Donald Trump’s anti-Wall Street rhetoric and talk of ‘draining the swamp’ to make the government work for the people, and his possible Wall Street appointments to run big government agencies that regulate the financial sector to protect regular Americans,”.. hoped that the populist pitch made by Trump during the election “wasn’t just rhetoric that gets forgotten when you come to DC.”