How Consumers (and Their Wallets) May Be Affected by the Upcoming Trump Presidency

The financial ramifications on consumers could be considerable

How Consumers (and Their Wallets) May Be Affected by the Upcoming Trump Presidency
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November 9, 2016

Now that the election is over, consumers are free to turn their attention to the consequences to their finances. How will the Trump administration affect consumers?

According to ConsumerAffairs (CA), There are several ways in which the administration may impact consumers' lives. These include the Affordable Care Act (ACA), interest rates, gas prices, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The Affordable Care Act

Several times Trump has stated that his first priority upon taking office would be to "repeal and replace" the ACA. However, it may be more difficult than it might seem. Although Republicans will have control of the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate, they will still need a number of Democrats to help them pass bills in the Senate.

Jack Hoadley works as a research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. According to him, it is more likely that Trump's administration will use executive powers to change certain details of the law rather than repealing it outright.

"They are probably, practically speaking, talking about leaving the ACA, as is, in place," Hoadley told NPR. "Then he can change the ACA to have it showcase the kinds of plans he wants to see in place."

Interest Rates

It is unclear what Trump's election will mean for interest rates. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) notes that the businessman's surprise triumph makes it less certain that the Federal Reserve will raise rates given the negative reaction of the markets to the results of the election. The Fed is now, writes the paper, far less likely to do anything that might impede economic progress.

However, CA points out that Trump has often criticized the Fed's extended low interest rate policy and will probably replace the chair, Janet Yellen, as soon as possible. Therefore, consumers and investors should expect rates to rise at some point in the near future, if not right away.

Gas Prices

In the short term, Trump's election may keep gas prices low for months, even years. According to Bloomberg News, it will probably make it more difficult for OPEC to make an agreement to cap oil production later this month.

"The pressure on OPEC to come up with a deal only increases in the wake of Trump's victory," said Giovanni Staunovo, a UBS analyst in Zurich told the news agency. "Even though the oil market is rebalancing, the political uncertainty in the short term leaves oil prices vulnerable to downside, that makes it more urgent for OPEC to act."

Trump's avowed support for U.S. -based energy production adds more pressure. Such production has gone down since OPEC started a global oil supply two years ago.

CFPB

This consumer-friendly agency, created in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Act, may be in danger. It has taken action on behalf of consumers many times—which Yahoo!Finance reports has resulted in the return of more than $11.8 billion to 27 million consumers—earning opposition from both Republicans and the financial institutions it regulates in the process.

CNBC writes that legal hurdles facing the CFPB may require changes to be made by Congress. It says that such changes almost certainly will make the agency less powerful and less consumer friendly.