You might expect there to be a certain degree of urgency on the part of the Trump administration in tackling one of the greatest injustices in U.S. history. We’re talking, of course, about the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, which takes the unconscionable step of forcing brokers to put their retirement-savings clients’ interests ahead of their own. One of the first victims of President Trump’s one-way Loyalty Street, Anthony Scaramucci, said the rule was a black mark in U.S. history that would live in infamy alongside the Dred Scott decision and pledged, “We’re going to repeal it.” The somewhat more measured Gary Cohn settled for dismissing it as a “bad rule for consumers.” Either way, it’s clear that Trump and his team want the damned thing gone.
Not that you’d guess that from the rather leisurely time they’re taking on the matter. (Granted, they may be distracted by some other pressing matters.) Labor Secretary Alex Acosta last month mournfully announced that there was nothing he could do about the wicked new regulation because there wasn’t time. Whether this was because Team Trump didn’t plan for the rule’s repeal or replacement during the Trump Tower show prior to the inauguration, or that it waited six weeks after that to formally delay its implementation, or that the president’s first choice to lead the Labor Department didn’t quite managed to be his only Cabinet pick to flame out and thus left the department headless for longer than necessary, or because the president was too busy whining and rubbing Paul Singer’s face in his victory to give Acosta his marching orders, or because, as House Speaker Paul Ryan might suggest, Trump doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, is unclear. Still, Acosta promised to take a good, hard look at the unstoppable fiduciary rule anyway, in hopes of at least mitigating the carnage it would unleash.
Given the importance of the issue, surely Acosta got started on it as soon as he took office on April 28, right? Or at least by May 22, when he wrote his sad column for the Journal, explaining that at least one member of the Trump administration respects the rule of law and thus would allow the rule to come into effect, which it will tomorrow? Surely, such a pressing matter would warrant action more than two days before the rule began wreaking havoc?
Meh, maybe not.
Mr. Acosta, at a congressional hearing on President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, said the Office of Management and Budget put out a request for information Wednesday morning on the fiduciary rule. The OMB is the gatekeeper in the rule-making—and rule-changing—process….
“That is the first step,“ Mr. Acosta said. ”We need that information and data in order to decide how to proceed.”