Paul Ryan—the lovable Republican, who cares in theory about poverty. Right? My friends, I’m afraid that the only thing Paul Ryan demonstrably cares about is breathtaking levels of pro-Wall Street doublespeak.
Here’s a boring phrase: “the fiduciary standard.” Okay, fine. Many important things in life are “boring,” to small-minded people. What this fiduciary standard means is that people who give you advice about what to do with your money and what to invest in are required to advise you based on what is good for you. We can contrast that with financial advisors who advise you to do what is best for them, such as “buy a high-fee mutual fund product that will make me money but will make you less money than a cheaper product that would not make me as much money.”
The fiduciary standard essentially requires that your financial advisor does not rip you off. Many people assume that their advisor adheres to this standard already. In fact many are not required to do so! And so many Americans are taken advantage of by their financial advisors, in one way or another, because their financial advisors are not required by law to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
President Obama, via the Labor Department, has been working for years to expand the fiduciary rule so that it covers more advisors, like brokers and insurance agents. The effect of this would be that more advisors like brokers and insurance agents would be unable to rip off consumers (as much). They could still make money just fine; but, if part of their business plan for years has been “steer my unsuspecting clients into higher-priced options they don’t need because I personally will get some sort of kickback,” they would not be allowed to do that any more. This basic rule change would save you, the consumer, a whole lot of money, and is probably one of the most straightforward good rule changes that anyone with an ounce of common sense should be able to get behind, regardless of political ideology. It is a rule change that simply prevents people in positions of trust from ripping people off (as much).
Naturally, Republicans, as the primary paid representatives of the financial industry, oppose this rule. Investment News points out that the Number One opponent of this rule change is the main man, Paul Ryan himself, who has been ratcheting up his public statements against the rule. One thing about Very Simple Rules That Are Clearly Good For the Public is that the tortured reasons offered by people who oppose them are often hilarious! How many ways can you say “I want to protect the right of financial advisors to rip people off?” Here is one way, from Paul Ryan’s website: “Don’t be fooled. In reality, this rule would create more paperwork and record-keeping requirements for planners, meaning higher costs for consumers.” Haha. “We are determined to do everything possible to protect consumers and stop this rule.” HAHA. Literally the opposite of what is true. It is remarkable.
Ryan has also called this rule “an example of massive overkill by the federal government,” presumably in the same way that a rule against theft is massive overkill by the federal government against pickpockets.
In conclusion Paul Ryan is actively working to ensure that your financial advisors are free to continue ripping you off. He is a star on the rise.