Trump not letting 'regulatory burdens glide by'

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Chris Woodward (

Trump "cuts" red tapeEven though it doesn't grab many headlines, a policy analyst says regulations are a big deal that affect everyone in the country, and he likes the Trump administration's mindset on the issue.

The Trump administration came into office in 2017 with the notion of freezing regulations where they were and saying that if agencies issued new rules, they would have to get rid of two for every one regulation that they put into place.

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), says that goal was met in a technical sense that first year.

"As you can imagine, there were a lot of criticisms from the left about what was taken out, or even whether the cuts were even actually valid," says Crews. "But 22 to 1 was the ratio in the first year; the second year [was] not quite as dramatic, [as] there were four significant regulations removed for every one added."

In 2019, in terms of the flow of regulations, 1.7 were removed for every one added. So while Crews acknowledges it was less than the two-for-one goal, "still, Trump has done a number of things."

According to Crews, one of the major changes that has taken place involves a freeze on a lot of the paperwork on regulation of the environment, health and safety, and labor. Crews considers that paperwork a hidden tax.

"The president does have his own regulatory impulses, too, when it comes to regulations of Big Tech or trade impositions and things of that sort, but in what you think of as the traditional regulatory area, basically that has frozen," says Crews.

He also admits that the goal of getting rid of two for every one regulation is tough because a regulation does not just go away.


"You have to go through a notice and comment period and then write a new regulation, so you can't actually get rid of a rule; you can only replace it with something else," says Crews. "That's one of the problems with the bureaucracy of the Deep State, or whatever folks like to call it. It's very tough to roll things back. You can ratchet in one direction, but it's hard to roll it back, and that's what we've found under the Trump administration."

Crews hopes the presidents of the future have a similar mindset, at least in terms of tracking regulations and always remembering that, just like taxing and spending, regulation has a huge impact on the economy and needs to be monitored more than it currently is.

"Whatever the legacy the Trump administration, I hope that a big part of it is that future presidents don't just let the regulatory burdens glide by," the CEI fellow concludes.


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