It’s not enough for the Republican Party to control most state legislatures, the House, the Senate, the Judiciary and the White House. No, the GOP is ensuring that its time at the top pushes oppressed people back down.
Here are five ways the Trump administration plans to hold back the already oppressed.
1. Letting mortgage lenders continue to discriminate in housing
Racial discrimination isn’t just for gated communities — often it was bankers themselves who created segregated neighborhoods by denying mortgages to people based on their race. But now, protection against that kind of discrimination is about to be rolled back, thanks to the GOP.
The Washington Post reports:
The Senate is poised to pass a bill this week that would weaken the government’s ability to enforce fair-lending requirements, making it easier for community banks to hide discrimination against minority mortgage applicants and harder for regulators to root out predatory lenders.
The mortgage industry says the expanded data requirements are onerous and costly, especially for small lenders. But civil rights and consumer advocates say the information is critical to identifying troubling patterns that warrant further investigation by regulators.
2. Rolling back Dodd-Frank
The removal of reporting requirements for mortgage lenders isn’t the only baking industry safety net being dismantled in Congress, either. Large portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank bipartisan bill meant to curb banking industry abuses are being removed from law — and with the help of a number of Democrats, too.
That move has incensed Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who attacked rural moderate Democrats for assisting the GOP in giving big banks a blank check. The Atlantic reports:
[T]he Senate bill [exempts] all but the nation’s 12 largest institutions from the stiffest regulations and mandatory stress tests. “Give me a break,” Warren said in a recent floor speech. “This bill is about goosing the bottom line and executive bonuses at the banks that make up the top one half of 1 percent of banks in this country by size. The very tippy-top. Your local community bank doesn’t have a quarter of a trillion dollars in assets.”
3. Ending net neutrality
Net neutrality regulations are about to hit the garbage can, thanks to the GOP head of the FCC. And that means that internet companies will get to decide how much content you can receive, how much you will pay for that privilege and which companies’ content they want to prioritize.
On the bright side, a handful of states are working on local protections that should be able to keep some old rules intact, so that information doesn’t just belong to those who have the most money to pay for it.
California is offering up a model of how to fight big communications, with a new bill that could keep current protections in place. The legislation “would prohibit internet providers from blocking or slowing data based on its content or from favoring websites or video streams from companies that pay extra,” according to the Associated Press. If California — home to Silicone Valley — takes a stand, hopefully the federal government will back down, too.
4. Fostering disorder at the Social Security Agency
We already know that the GOP wants to dismantle the social safety net. But fewer people may aware that, in the case of Social Security, the Trump administration has already started. The president has yet to appoint a new commissioner for the Social Security Agency, and now that lack of appointment is starting to turn into a crisis.
Without an official head, none of the agency’s recommendations or actions have any official authority — and all can potentially be legally challenged, according to the Washington Post. While that may not be a problem to conservatives, who want the agency abolished eventually anyway, it’s a catastrophe to the millions who have used — or will use — the service.
5. Gerrymandering everything
Of course, these efforts only work if the GOP doesn’t have to worry about voters ousting them from office. That’s why their biggest concern right now is ensuring they win the right elections in 2018 and 2020 to stay in charge of redistricting after the next census. Gerrymandered districts gave them power in the first place, despite having less overall voters backing their agendas. Now, Republicans want to get themselves even further embedded. And if that happens, we very well may never shake them loose.