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The department that could predict and prevent next recession has budget slashed

The agency's director, Richard Berner announced his departure a month ago.
Credit: Getty Images

President Trump reportedly will cut staff and make significant budget changes to the Office of Financial Research — the agency responsible for predicting when financial markets could crash or when the country is about to go into a recession.

According to the Wall Street Journal, top officials at the Treasury Department informed employees of the Office of Financial Research on November 30 about the Trump administration’s plan to make significant changes to OFR.

While it’s not clear how the cuts are structured or how many people are being let go, Trump announced his initial plans to make significant changes to the OFR’s budget in May, announcing it would reduce the office’s budget by 25% and cut a third of its staff.

The office falls under the Treasury Department but is independently funded and spends approximately $100 million a year according to The Wall Street Journal.

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If Trump moves forward and makes significant cuts to the Office of Financial Research, one of the questions he will need to answers is if there will be enough manpower left to effectively provide adequate financial analysis and information to prepare for a financial market crash or recession.

The Office of Financial Research’s director Richard Berner was appointed as the office's director in 2013. Although his contract expires in 2019, he announced in November his plans to leave by the end of the year without much reason for his departure.

“After six years of commuting between Washington, D.C., and my home in New York, I have decided that it is time for me to go home to my wife and enjoy time with our grandchildren who have graced our family since I came to D.C.,” Berner said in a statement in November.

Despite his plans to leave his position, he believes the agency will still function properly despite Trump’s cuts. In the OFR’s annual report, Berner says he’s certain the department will maintain its “objectivity, integrity and quality.”

The Office of Financial Research was established during the Obama Administration in 2010 after the country suffered from a financial crisis beginning in 2008 which sent the country into the Great Recession.

 
 
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