What a difference a day makes.
Especially when it comes as a complete surprise.
The presidential election results not only turned the political chattering class—talking heads, pundits, pollsters—on their heads, it pretty much shocked us all. Donald Trump’s vanquishing of Hillary Clinton and repudiation of Obama’s regulatory heavy hand, pretty much caught most of us off-guard.
It wasn’t long after the results of November 8th were official—the fact that it was early in the morning of the 9th is a testimonial to the integrity of the process and the strength of our Republic—that people started talking earnestly of the prospects of repealing in whole or in part the misguided DOL regulations concerning the fiduciary rule, so arrogantly imposed notwithstanding widespread concern for adverse impact upon our clients.
There are a great many things that our new president will need to tackle, and the DOL rule, to be fair, is not exactly at the top of the list. But it is close. And it should be, because next to national security the federal government’s role is to promote the economic security of its citizens. The DOL rule, as many have testified, is not consistent with the best interests of our clients, given the added costs and bar to access to products that the rule will surely yield. It is also duplicative with best interest standards that we all operate under with the careful gaze of our state regulators already and always upon us.
Straight from the wishful thinking department will also be wholesale re-engineering of the nation’s health insurance policy, with a long-overdue repeal of Obamacare, and a squelching of efforts to create state-run pension plans. Promotion of private sector solutions with smart regulation thereof will hopefully be the order of the day.
While some have and will continue to protest the election of our new president, it is undeniable that his victory represents a new opportunity to drive change in public policy where it should be deliberated and created—in the Congress and not in regulatory agencies run by unelected administrators. We should not have to resort to judicial intervention as the only recourse to excessive regulatory activity characterized by a high-minded and heavy-handed “big brother knows best” mentality.
And if we are to get really lucky, we might even get a return of insurance and financial services oversight to the States, where it has long resided and belongs. Usurpation of states’ rights through these federal administrative enactments have not just created a confusing bifurcation of authority, but it has also led to ill-informed policymaking by those who know the least about the business of insurance. The President-elect has already indicated more of a Federalist approach to governing so there is hope for a re-configuration of the balance of power between the state and federal governments.
Regardless of your individual politics, it is safe to say that this year’s election results are good for our profession and our clients.