Strong and stable capital markets are critical to America’s economic success. The U.S. financial sector is the largest in the world and is one of the pillars of our economy. But the 2008 financial crisis also laid bare weaknesses in the sector—weaknesses that had severe consequences for American workers and their families. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and $17 trillion in household wealth was destroyed. On a more personal scale, the average net worth for American households dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 after the financial crisis, wiping out almost two decades of gains and dramatically weakening the middle class that is so crucial to economic growth.
Two years ago this week, in response to the financial crisis, Congress passed landmark reform to strengthen the U.S. financial sector and protect taxpayers from a repeat of the 2008 crisis. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was the most sweeping legislative reform in the financial sector since the passage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s suite of reforms in the 1930s. But passing Dodd-Frank through Congress was simply the first step in a process of shoring up the financial system that continues to this day, with critical decisions still to come in the months and years ahead, both to implement this key law, and also to ensure the financial sector is serving the economy.
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