Trump’s Triumphs #2 - The Regulation to End All Regulation
By Anne Doherty
Funny how the "free to be" Left loves to lay down the law. Not only did the Obama administration interfere with choice of toilets, its unelected agency officials imposed regulation upon regulation - in business and all areas of life - resulting in a $122 billion burden on citizens. Not a tax burden - but government fees and other unnecessary siphoning of capital that became the cost of doing business in America. Small wonder “The Swamp” contains some of the richest postal codes in the country.
Therefore, President Trump’s greatest accomplishment – and no doubt what will be hailed as his greatest legacy - is Executive Order 13771, the regulation to end all regulations - well, most of them, anyway.
Over nearly 60 years, Democrats and Republicans alike have made sure federal regulations propagated like rabbits. In 1960, the Code of Federal Regulations had 20,000 pages. Today, it has more than 185,000.
As regulations are one way bureaucrats divide up the spoils of taxation, the elite tend to favor more, not fewer, of them and are naturally resistant of reduction. What does it take to peel back red tape? A complex and lengthy administrative process, that requires following the rules laid out in the Administrative Procedures Act. A repeal, therefore, requires justification for the action, subjecting it to public notice and comment, and often revue by the courts. Indeed, a regulatory repeal can take years - even when there’s no opposition.
President Trump has promised the public that “We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money.” And, indeed, Executive Order 13771, titled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” asks federal agencies to identify for repeal at least two existing regulations for every new regulation they create. Plus, the order calls for a budgeting process to reduce net regulatory costs each year and will require the Federal regulatory database to identify whether regulations are anticipated to be net regulatory or deregulatory.
The White House Fact Sheet claims that this administration has, in fact, far surpassed this goal, and has eliminated 22 regulations for each one it has issued. The administration’ s new bi-annual report - Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions - currently reflects the withdrawal of 635 previously listed regulations, the shelving of 244 regulatory actions, and the delaying of 700 rule-makings.
13771 has put a tourniquet on the flow on federal spending. The Fact Sheet claims “Federal agencies achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings, the equivalent of $570 million per year. These savings go beyond the Administration’s goal of imposing no lifetime net regulatory costs in FY 2017.” The president is committed to reducing costs even more in 2018.
A few highlights:
- The New York times claims the Trump administration has sought the repeal of at least 60 environmental rules, many of which inhibit the fossil fuel industry. These include the proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (This alone projects savings of $33 billion in compliance costs) and of Obama’s “waters of the United States” rule, which tramples personal property and states’ rights by overhauling the definition of the waters that the federal government can regulate under the Clean Water Act.
- The Trump administration has cut regulations that cripple businesses and give power to the federal government: It ended a rule requiring companies to report worker incomes by race and gender. It ended limits on the ability of states to drug test those seeking unemployment benefits. It has also proposed easing of requirements for retailers’ participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Who knew there was a rule requiring stores that accept the stamps to carry on a continuous basis at least seven varieties of items in each of four staple food categories?
- Moreover, these regulatory changes make sure government itself does business in a more spritely and cost effective manner. One executive order cuts the time for infrastructure permit approvals.
The Federal Register, - the daily journal of the US Government - records changes to laws and regulations. So, while inexact, a peek at the annual number of pages the Register published gives some indication of how many regulations an administration created. The Obama administration imposed between $5.7 billion and $15.2 billion in annualized regulatory costs in its final eight months in office. That activity is reflected in the Federal Register’s whopping all time record 95,894 pages for 2016. (See chart.) In contrast, the Trump administration in 2017 created a mere 61,959 pages - more than 30,000 fewer.
Alarmist mainstream media coverage of 13771 and its aftermath ranges from “too early to tell” to claiming that it heralds the end of the world as we know it. But with the Dow at 25,000 and counting and businesses bringing money back into America, the Left must cling to their fictions to keep the public from understanding how tightly O & Co tied the hands of employers and thereby kept potential employees demoralizingly dependent on the dole. Ironically, now that the bonds of regulation have been loosened, we’re finally free - to be.