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US government cannot walk the Trump talk

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By Sam Kerr
23 Mar 2017

Wall Street workers hoping for a regulatory sea change under president Donald Trump need to adjust their expectations, as empty posts at all levels of government are set to hinder lasting reform.

With healthcare, tax reform and infrastructure the top of the legislative agenda, setting fire to Dodd-Frank is well down the list of Congressional priorities.

Panelists speaking at Moody’s housing conference in New York this week said that change is more likely to come from regulators than from Congress, but most key departments remain critically understaffed. 

According to the The Washington Post's appointee tracker, of the 553 key departmental positions needing Senate confirmation, only 20 have so far been confirmed, while 38 have yet to be confirmed and 495 are yet to be nominated.

At the Treasury Department, for example, only secretary Steven Mnuchin is in place, while six positions await Senate confirmation and 20 have yet to be nominated.

It is still unknown whether the delay in filling key posts stems from widely reported chaos within the administration during its first 100 days, or an ideological zeal to slash the size of the federal government.

The latter would be a mistake, especially if the goal is to enact lasting regulatory change. The US government is larger and more complex than any business Trump has ever run, and empty posts at all levels of government will lead to inefficiencies, inaction and the abandonment of much of what he says he wants to achieve.

By Sam Kerr
23 Mar 2017