Trump Brags About His Deregulation—And He May Be Right

Pruning back regulation doesn't have to be a partisan issue.


Klimentyev Mikhail/ZUMA Press/Newscom

President Trump, in a "brief telephone call" with The New York Times earlier this month listed "what he saw as his biggest accomplishments, including a focus on deregulation." The Times relegated the mention of deregulation to a paragraph low down in the story, which itself ran inside the newspaper rather than on the front page.

It wouldn't be the first time that the elite press or its readership made the mistake of failing to pay attention to, and to actually hear, what Trump is saying.

More sophisticated observers are starting to take note. The Economist, in a piece published last month, reported, "the impact of the Trump administration has been dramatic. The flow of new rules is suddenly a dribble. Since Mr Trump was inaugurated the number of regulatory restrictions has grown at about two-fifths of the usual speed."

The British newsmagazine, which is not generally a Trump cheerleader, praised the administration's approach to financial deregulation as "thoughtful…detailed and rigorous." It reported, "the new approach in Washington does seem to have boosted business confidence."

In rolling back regulation, Trump is focusing on a real problem. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University captures the growth of federal red tape with a thought experiment explaining the difficulty of even reading, let alone complying with, the government imposed rules.

"The US Code of Federal Regulations—the annually published set of books containing all federal regulations currently in effect—contained 35.4 million words in 1970. A person could read the entire code in just a few days short of a year, assuming he or she read 250 words per minute, 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year," the Mercatus scholars wrote.

"Fast-forward to 2016, the last year for which we have data, and the task becomes more than three times as difficult," the Mercatus scholars say. "By 2016, there were 104.6 million words of federal regulation on the books, about 195 percent growth over 1970, with a corresponding increase in reading time of almost two years. "

IBM has been running full-page newspaper ads boasting that its Watson artificial intelligence capability can help compliance officers "keep up with 20,000 new or modified regulations a year and 200 revisions a day." An IBM executive and former bank regulator warns, "humans alone are not going to be able to meet these challenges. Advanced technology tools are essential."

There are so many rules, and they change so fast, that you need a supercomputer to keep track of them. Either that or more and more people. The number of people with the job "compliance officer" has more than doubled, to 273,910 in 2016 from 126,840 in 2000, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. More regulations mean more people whose job is making sure companies follow the regulations.

Mercatus warns about "unintended consequences, including slower economic growth, reduced employment opportunities, and disproportionate harm to low-income households."

There's also a risk of selective enforcement. When rules multiply, impartial enforcement becomes challenging, and the temptation increases for prosecutors, or regulators, to pick an unpopular individual or industry, and then look for an offense.

Pruning back regulation doesn't have to be a partisan issue. President Carter, Senator Edward Kennedy, and Kennedy's then-aide Stephen Breyer, now a Supreme Court justice, all Democrats, got this going when they tackled airline deregulation in the 1970s. Even Hillary Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire in 2015 saying, "I want to do everything I can to help make it easier for people to start businesses, cut that red tape….and really take a hard look at licensing requirements from state to state."

The idea is also catching on globally. Excessive European Union regulation was one of the factors that motivated the British Brexit vote. In France, President Emmanuel Macron has movedto make labor laws more flexible and less restrictive on businesses. In Israel, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, tells Bloomberg News that he wants to, as Bloomberg put it, "streamline bureaucracy and regulation."

If Trump can succeed not just in slowing the rate of growth but in actually reducing some of the rules, it's a real opportunity for addition by subtraction. If Trump himself is identifying it as one of his key accomplishments, it just might be worth listening.

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  1. It is the one thing that I feel I can consistently praise him for.

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

        This is what I do…

    1. Name one then. One of some significance that doesn’t involve lying to coal miners.

      I Googled a list and found one:…..story.html

      None of them mean shit to the economy.

      1. Turd, the economy is calling you a liar, which is no surprise.
        You lost, loser.

      2. You’re the one who brought up the economy, but that being said several of those in your list involve removing regulations involving large book keeping tasks. That does impact efficiency of a large company.

        Also, they phrase one “People with mental disabilities can more easily purchase a gun”, probably in a way to scare people. But that’s also a great one. Someone doesn’t lose rights because they have a sickness and it’s nothing but bald faced stigmatization of those with mental illness.

        1. Oh bullshit. Keeping records of workplace injuries 6 months instead of five years? Do you know how cheap disk space is? It costs more to purge those files than keep them.

          That list is indicative of what a waste of space Trump is.

          Give me a regulation he killed that helps the economy please. No garbage this time.

          1. “Give me a regulation he killed that helps the economy please”

            Fascinating point of view from the only true libertarian here.

            1. Some regulations are permissible for classic liberals. Hayek himself supported regulations when the price mechanism fails.

              I know conservatives detest Hayek but I will use him as an authority on classic liberalism.

              1. “Some regulations are permissible for classic liberals.”

                That’s a far cry from this exerpt from the article above:

                “The US Code of Federal Regulations?the annually published set of books containing all federal regulations currently in effect?contained 35.4 million words in 1970. A person could read the entire code in just a few days short of a year, assuming he or she read 250 words per minute, 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year,”

                But to take your challenge. The first overturned regulation listed in the LAtimes article. Can you defend the regulation? I see no need for it. And please don’t use the justification: “well, complying with the regulation isn’t that hard”. That’s not a libertarian argument.

                1. Trud is not a libertarian by any means at all.
                  He’s a lefty by any measure you care to examine. H’e yet to meet or hear of a D who he didn’t find just deamy!

                2. It is a national security issue. If Exxon is paying Saudi Aramco or the Iranians for mineral rights we should know about it.

                  1. Bullshit. Exxon wants to drill for oil and some government is going to take their rake. It happens everywhere, including in the USA It’s called doing business. Fuck off with sticking your nose in everything.

                    1. Bloop/derp is usually where you arguments end up. I’ve seen it many times. You are consistent. But certainly not libertarian. “National Security” is your libertarian response? Really. Just because that was what was written as the supposed reason for the regulation?

                    2. Did the Clinton Foundation get a kickback or not?

                    3. What happened to the Uranium that Clinton’s gang sold? What happened to the money that was paid to the Clinton foundation for said Uranium?

                      You lefties just want regulations for control but not to control your desires for more power and corruption.

      3. From the linked latimes article:

        “The Congressional Review Act expedites the process to overturn rules adopted by a previous administration. If used during the first 60 days of a new legislative session, it allows Congress to kill regulations passed in the final months of a previous administration ? after June 2016 in this case ? with a simple majority vote, avoiding the usual 60 votes needed to avoid a Senate filibuster.”

        This “overturning” is a Congressional action. Also, interesting to note the number of these regulations that Obama rammed into his last few months in office. Reminds me of Clinton’s flurry of shady pardons. Cowardly politician.

          1. Trump isn’t in Congress.

  2. Trump generally looks pretty awful in his too-long ties and ill-fitting suits, but in that pic he looks like he’s wearing pajamas.

    1. I thought that was a photoshop or something, is that real?

      1. Maybe he accidentally put on one of Hillary’s pantsuits the morning after a debate.

    2. You have never seen and untucked button up shirt before?

      1. Its just not a good look on an obese 70+ year old

        1. I mean it almost looks like he’s doing tai chi, except that’s dangerously close to exercise.

          1. He just met with Chinese leaders and maybe he wanted to toy with Dictator Xi of China.

          2. That move is called Golden Monkey Steals The Peaches.

        2. “Its just not a good look on an obese 70+ year old”

          On the contrary. A tucked in shirt accentuates a big gut. Hillary’s been using this wardrobe technique for a long time.

      2. Trump is wearing a traditional Vietnamese blue shirt as are other leaders at a summit in Vietnam.…

        It’s not really important.

  3. It still is partisan. Until you can convince the left that the vast majority of regulations don’t happen because some altruistic politician saw that companies were force feeding cyanide to children and had to take action, but are instead lobbied into effect by corporations looking for some good ol’ fashioned regulatory capture, they will view deregulation as something that’s only supported by fascist Nazis who hate the environment and children and are bought by the Koch brothers*

    *This message brought to you by Koch Industries

    1. This is unfortunately spot on. =/

    2. Regulatory capture is OK if the corporation contributes to leftist politicians. That means they have good intentions. Whereas regulatory capture by anyone else is evidence of corporate greed destroying the environment and everything else.

      1. Everyone knows that the corporate money that goes towards right-leaning politicians is from greedy capitalists who are trying to lower their regulatory costs and taxes (this is probably true in many cases, but let’s be realistic: many Republicans are just as likely as Dems to be lobbied into creating new regulations)

        But when corporations donate to Democrats, which they never seem to do, it is because they care about social change and don’t mind if they have to pay more in taxes or regulatory compliance since they can afford to. They’re the good corporations because clearly they have nothing to gain from supporting Democrats

        1. Hey ChipToBeSquare, that link to the top 50 organization contributors to candidates doesn’t support your assertion that corporations “never seem to” donate to Democrats. It shows 27 of the top 50 contributors are to Democrats. Though many of these organizations are union organizations there are many businesses that contribute to Democrats, including the top contributor, Fahr LLC which gave $90 million entirely to Democrats.

    3. So true. Ira missed the boat on on that thought. The best he can come up with for an actual example was the airline industry in the 1970’s. Today’s view is summarized by the left’s apoplexy at the thought of privatizing air traffic control. And Hillary saying anything about intentions is useless.

  4. The number of people with the job “compliance officer” [was] 273,910 in 2016

    Good Lord. Why can’t they do something *productive*, like prepare taxes?

    1. How many compliance officers does the Mafia have?

  5. Oh man. Reason is finally rolling out the facts to praise Trump’s administration rather than it being TDS all the way down.

    Shikha will take a bit longer to get off her TDS bandwagon.

    1. I was originally against Trump until a forensic psychiatrist friend convinced me Trump really wanted to make America better. I have to agree most at Reason (and I give them money) have been too critical of Trump. And it seems a lot of his campaign rhetoric (on immigration and trade) was mostly just bluster to get elected. Still I voted for Johnson because I didn’t think Trump would be much different from the status quo. But he has deregulated and it appears like he will continue as best he can. And Congress is the one writing bills telling the executive branch bureaucracy to make the rules, so Trump’s taking advantage.

  6. “Judge” Moore is going into the shithole hard. Two LEOs said he was banned from malls for chasing teen girls.

    Typical conservative scumbag. John’s type conservative. Of course John likes Denny Hastert too.

    1. “Judge” Moore is going into the shithole hard.”

      Poor, poor turd. Turd LOST. Turd’s a loser.
      Fuck off, loser.

      1. I knew you liked Denny Hastert too.

        Shame on you, Sevo. You enable child predators.

    2. PB: Is this your attempt to bleachbit your Weinstein apalogia? Ok. Moore’s a creep. John gives him too much benefit of the doubt and Sevo hates you (understandably). Every week there are scores of issues debated here with true libertarian vs. collectivist consequences. Your absence from them is as striking as your obsession with a very narrow band of Republican politicians. If you showed any sense of balance or objective perspective, you wouldn’t be so universally reviled here. I also get it, being universally reviled is better than being ignored for low self-esteem narcissists.

      1. I don’t shy from any debate, you liar.

        And I am reviled by the conservatives here. I have been messaged many times by other classic liberals to the effect that they are glad someone is standing up for our side.

        I despise conservatives AND progressives. The latter is already picked on by everyone here except Tony.

        1. Well, the occasions when you decide to remove the buttplug and emerge from the turdhole is very revealing. If you think conservatives aren’t reviled here, you are the moron everyone calls you.

          1. You are a Sarah Palin fan no doubt. That is the only explanation for your obsession with my screen name.

            1. You named yourself Palin’s Buttplug and I’m the one obsessed with her by referring to it once? Go on, keep digging.

              1. If you are truly a libertarian why do you have a problem with my hating conservatives?

                I hate Bernie Sanders too. Probably more.

                WTF is your malfunction?

                1. I don’t have a problem with you hating conservatives. I have a problem with your bullshit, which, ironically, is the same problem we both have with conservatives.

                  I’ll repeat what I said above:
                  “Every week there are scores of issues debated here with true libertarian vs. collectivist consequences. Your absence from them is as striking as your obsession with a very narrow band of Republican politicians. If you showed any sense of balance or objective perspective, you wouldn’t be so universally reviled here.”

                  You are a turd in a punchbowl and I like punch.

                  1. Tom Bombadil|11.13.17 @ 9:50PM

                    Why are you not trying to remove partisan GOP posters here? Like John, Mikey, Rufus, LoveCons, and all the other jackasses?

                    But no. You just want the classic liberal to leave.

                    Well fuck you. You are a partisan GOP hack like the above mentioned.

                    1. “Why are you not trying to remove partisan GOP posters here? Like John, Mikey, Rufus, LoveCons, and all the other jackasses?”

                      Because in the Ponzi Scheme of online bullshit, you are Bernie Madoff.
                      Patience, little turd. I have given grief to all you just mentioned.

                    2. Out of everyone you could claim doesnt argue with John enough you chose Tom Bombadil.

                      Do you read posts that aren’t your own or a direct response to your own?

                    3. This be true.

        2. “And I am reviled by the conservatives here.”

          Don’t sell yourself short.

      2. And HW deserves DUE PROCESS. That is all I have “defended” him on. He is not a convicted rapist and probably won’t be.

      3. Palin’s Buttplug|11.13.17 @ 8:14PM|#
        “I knew you liked Denny Hastert too.”

        You lost, turd. You’re a loser, turd.
        Fuck off, loser.

        1. Tell us why you support the teen girl predator Moore, Sevo.

          1. Who said this?:

            And HW deserves DUE PROCESS.

            1. A criminal defendant who deserves due process and a creepy predator politician are two vastly different things, idiot.

              “Judge” Moore deserves due process but he also is a fucking scumbag who should never be elected for anything.

              1. I rest my case.

          2. Palin’s Buttplug|11.13.17 @ 8:45PM|#
            “Tell us why you support the teen girl predator Moore, Sevo.”

            Tell us why you can’t post without lying, turd.
            Hey, turd! You LOST, loser.

  7. Miami vs Carolina tonight.

    I need for Miami to win, Peanuts.

    1. Buttplug’s attempt to be “one of the guys”. Were you leaning on the water cooler when you posted that?

      1. Way before you showed up here we talked NFL a lot.

        That was also before it became conservative dogma to hate the NFL because they protest police brutality. Conservatives suck police cock, you know.

        1. I’ve been here for years under a different name, so I know very well that you have been consistently and universally reviled the entire time.

          “conservative dogma to hate the NFL because they protest police brutality.”

          Are you running for king of the non sequiturs?

          1. you have been consistently and universally reviled …. by conservatives.

            Fuck conservatives. Us classic liberals hate conservatism.

            Religion is poison and conservatives rely on religion for all their positions.

            Islam is the worst. Christianity is second. They are enemies of freedom.

            1. “Us classic liberals hate conservatism.”

              Turd posts “Us” here; I think he has another proggie turd in his pocket.
              Do you ever post without lying, turd?
              Have you figured out you lost, turd? You’re a loser, turd. Fuck off.

            2. You really live in a bubble if you think the only people here who call you out on your bullshit are conservatives. There are plenty of libertarians here who have debated you into a quivering pool of turd water. However, I have never, never seen you get thrashed and then admit you were wrong. The reason I am taking the time to explain this to you is: I would like to see you go away. I know you won’t. For you, being seen as a douche is better than not being seen at all. So be it. People as out of balance as you can serve an educational function.

              1. Bullshit. I always take the classic liberal position. Always.

                No classic liberal could win arguing against a classic liberal position.

                1. Let’s just give him the whole “classical liberal” thing

                  No one wants it anymore

                  1. If you let Joy Reid define classic liberalism then Osama Bin Laden is the epitome of a conservative.

                    1. “If you let Joy Reid define classic liberalism then Osama Bin Laden is the epitome of a conservative.”

                      You finally said something true and you didn’t even mean it. Yes, Osama Bin Laden is the epitome of a conservative.

                2. Your position upthread re regulations was not libertarian.

                  ” I always take the classic liberal position. Always”

                  Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.
                  However, If you stand by that claim, I hope you will promise to exit this forum permanently the next time you don’t take a “classical liberal” position. Howzat sound?

                3. “Bullshit. I always take the classic liberal position. Always.”
                  “”Judge” Moore deserves due process but he also is a fucking scumbag who should never be elected for anything.”

                  I think it is striking that you have never written that 2nd sentence with the words “Hillary Clinton” instead of “Judge Moore” even though you have had years and an infinite number of suitable opportunities to do just that. That is why you are a laughing stock here. Not because you like to point out the foibles of Republican retards.

                  1. Hillary Clinton is not molesting minors, you fucking idiot.

                    1. Did you just become aware of Hillary Clinton this week? You are a liar by omission. How is it possible you did not get the point when I was so explicit? Your dishonesty is not very libertarian, just thought I’d point that out.

                    2. Palin’s Buttplug|11.13.17 @ 10:55PM|#
                      “Hillary Clinton is not molesting minors, you fucking idiot.”
                      First, you have no idea whether that’s true or not. Beyond which, so what?
                      You support that hag because you think she’s not molesting minors? Great! How about getting people killed in service to the State Department? Selling access while she’s SoS? The illegal server network? Destroying subpoenaed evidence?
                      Well, I guess we can honor with faint praise: AFAIK, she hasn’t molested minors. AFAIK.

                    3. Aborting them is what, humane?

                4. Palin’s Buttplug|11.13.17 @ 10:18PM|#
                  “Bullshit. I always take the classic liberal position”

                  This scumbag posts there regularly. Does he really think “The Big Lie” is gonna carry the day?
                  Turd, you are as far from a ‘classical liberal’ as your fave Obama.
                  Why do you bother lying like this? Is it some compulsion? Or just plain stupidity?
                  Oh, and fuck off, loser.

      2. Tom Bombadil|11.13.17 @ 9:02PM|#
        “Buttplug’s attempt to be “one of the guys”.”

        And posted by a scumbag who never pays off his bets besides. I hope he needs it to keep his bookie from ‘collection’. And I hope Miami loses, too.
        You know how you can sit at a bar chatting with a Jackson laying there so the barkeep knows you’re good for it? And then some scumbag walks in and all the cash disappears from the bar, since the regulars know it’ll disappear if they don’t collect it first (and the new guys figure it out)?
        Turd is that scumbag. I’m sure his rule in life is ‘never pass up a way to screw someone’; he’s that sort of a low-life.
        Hey turd! Still waiting for that illusive link showing where I supported the GOP! And that’s NOT a link showing where I laughed at you and the rest of the losers when the hag lost, loser.

  8. Apologies to the regulars for my somewhat hijacking the Comments here and tearing PB a new buttplug. Fortunately this took place on a fairly uninteresting thread. For me, PB epitomizes political and philosophical dishonesty. He/it is a cancer. I will try to be more succinct in the future.

    1. You aren’t the first. I’ve spent the last 24 hours taking Tony to task in the Sunday Roy Moore thread. I don’t know why we bother…

  9. Quoting: Mercatus Center at George Mason University… contained 35.4 million words in 1970… By 2016, there were 104.6 million words of federal regulation on the books, about 195 percent growth over 1970

    104.6 million is a growth of 295% over 35.4 million… and it would take a bit less than 3 years not 2 to read it all.

    I know the author just quoted this material but it looks like everyone involved needs remedial math lessons 🙂

    1. Math is hard. English is harder. 100% *growth* is a doubling. While it is true that 104.6 is 295% of 35.4 million, that means that the *growth* is 195%.

      And your comment of, “a bit less than 3 years,” is *exactly* what, “with a corresponding increase in reading time of almost two years.” The words “increase…of” means that it goes up *by* two years, not that it goes up *to* two years.

  10. There’s also a risk of selective enforcement.

    Feature, not bug.

  11. You need regulations. It does not meet one can’t revise regulations. I would put time limits on regulations and have them voted on after so many years. But come on, anyone who has read about the damage from mining accidents and long term health effects on miners should come togehter and toughen regulations on that industry, not loosen them. Maybe one can revise some outdated regulations, but I hardly think coal mining is suffering because of regulations.

  12. Here is the funny thing about Trump. Let some neighbor of one of his properties try to do put a bunch of trailer and beat up trucks on the lawn neighboring his properthy. The dude would be the first to scream that local regulations be enforced.

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