Regulation

Trump's Regulatory Slowdown Is Real

But it might not last unless Congress gets more involved.

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GARY I ROTHSTEIN/UPI/Newscom

President Donald Trump's first year in office saw the creation of fewer new federal regulations than any year since the National Archives started tracking regulatory rules in 1976. Even so, the administration created more than 3,200 new rules during 2017. That's 34 new regulations for every single bill passed by Congress.

That sort of dichotomy permeates a report published today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a D.C.-based free market think tank.

On one hand, there is no doubt that the Trump administration has made slashing federal regulations a key policy goal. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to remove two regulations from the books for every new one added. That atmosphere has reduced red tape and slowed the creation of new rules, says Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the author of "10,000 Commandments," an annual assessment of the size of the federal regulatory state.

According to the new edition of "10,000 Commandments," the Trump administration delayed or repealed more than 1,500 regulations passed by the Obama administration. Congress helped out by using the Congressional Review Act to eliminate 15 Obama-era rules during 2017. The results include a rollback of the feds' role in land use decisions and an end to the Social Security Administration's attempt to regulate guns.

On the other hand, the federal regulatory state remains a massive entity that sucks $1.9 trillion out of the economy each year. And Trump's efforts to shrink it are under threat from his other, often countervailing, impulses.

"These are good things, but there are warning signs," Crews says. "President Trump's own apparent affinity for strong antitrust enforcement and protectionist trade policies threaten to undermine the economic gains from his regulatory reform efforts."

You can literally see how Trump stacks up against previous presidents by printing out the full length of the Federal Register, that annual behemoth that publishes every new rule issued by a federal department or agency. In 2016, Obama's final year in office, the register ran to a record length of 95,000 pages—far ahead of the previous record, set just one year before, of 80,000 pages. Thirteen of the 15 longest registers in American history were authored by Trump's two immediate predecessors.

Trump's 2017 register? A mere 61,308 pages, the lowest count since 1993.

While Trump delivered on his promise to cut two regulations for every new one added, there are worrying signs that federal rulemaking might increase in coming years. Agencies have three times as many regulatory actions as deregulatory actions in the pipeline, Crews says.

And only Congress can truly return the administrative state to a more limited role. As Matt Welch detailed in Reason last year, the growth of federal regulations is largely the result of Congress handing over too much rulemaking authority to federal agencies—and failing to hold agencies accountable for the rules they create.

"Ultimately, permanent regulatory streamlining will require Congress to act," says Crews.

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  1. And only Congress can truly return the administrative state to a more limited role.

    Ugh, why didn’t you start with this. Congress knows it does nothing but benefits from offloading to the other two federal branches as much responsibility as possible. Until they make themselves so irrelevant that lobbyists no longer feel the need to spend on them, Congress has no incentive to change.

    1. Also, it’s an equivocation or distraction on par with any of Robby’s ‘to be sures’. President Hitler murders fewer Jews than his previous three predecessors but let’s not get too excited, only Congress can prevent WWII. It almost seems like maybe Boehm wrote a “Congress is less restrained than ‘Mr. Grab them by the Pussy'” piece and then decided there wasn’t enough TDS.

      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… http://www.jobs63.com

      2. 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… http://www.jobs63.com

  2. #MAGA LIBERTARIAN MOMENT

    Calvin Coolidge looks down from Heaven and smiles…

    1. I don’t think he would particularly care much for Trump’s loquaciousness, do you?

      1. “Loquaciousness” – is that a ten-dollar word for diarrhea of the mouth?

      2. Although Coolidge was known to be a skilled and effective public speaker, in private he was a man of few words and was commonly referred to as “Silent Cal”. A possibly apocryphal story has it that a matron, seated next to him at a dinner, said to him, “I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you.” He replied, “You lose.”

      3. Or his macrological palillogies.

  3. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the government’s mass murder of the men, women, and children at Waco.

    Has Reason noted this?

    1. they were white and some form of christian sect so no one cares

    2. Didn’t they so some articles a few weeks ago?

      1. Nobody reads the articles.

    3. Has Reason noted this?

      I’m gonna go start my own website! With blackjack, and Hookers!

      1. I’m gonna go start my own website! With blackjack, and Hookers!

        For a very small window of time the second sentence/clause would’ve rendered the first clause a joke.

        I’m fairly certain that, now, you’ve just admitted guilt to starting a domestic terrorist organization, money laundering, and child sex trafficking and if anybody logged on to your site or helped you build it, conspiracy to all of the above as well.

    4. Didn’t Reason have an article on the Waco mass murder back then?

      At that time Reason were more interested in exposing actual abuses of power than denigrating the President for doing, on balance, a pretty fair job in very difficult circumstances – draining the swamp and countering MSM fake news. One far, far better than the alternative – Hilary Clinton – would have done.

  4. Trump getting credit for rolling back government a bit by Reason.

    Holy MAGA Batman!

    1. They’ve already written several articles along these lines.

        1. Too many for Citizen.

      1. The three times it happened, I pointed out that fact.

    2. Never getting the thanks he deserves. Sad!

  5. So Trump introduced 3200 new regs in 2017, and delayed/repealed 1,500? And Boehm says this means he’s delivering on the campaign promise.

    That’s some Obama-level success, Eric.

    1. Look, if growing the budget by only 8% instead of 10% counts as draconian cuts, growing the Federal Register by 1700 rules instead of 3200 certainly counts as deregulation.

      1. Also, I think you have to see what the new rules actually say. I think, for the federal registry, a new rule is required to overwrite an old rule. Like how to get rid of an old law you need a new law that explicitly overrides it.

        1. you got it, trumps are repeals , mostly.

  6. Trump’s Regulatory Slowdown Is Real
    But it might not last unless Congress gets more involved.

    And Congress isn’t going to get involved unless the voters get more involved. In a hands-on way, if you know what I mean. Those spineless shitweasels won’t do or say a damn thing decisively for fear of losing a few votes, they won’t take a stand on anything that requires them to take responsibility for anything.

    1. Spineless Shitweasel: “I’m a man of principles and firm convictions, but if you don’t like my principles and convictions I’ll be glad to change them.”

  7. “Ultimately, permanent regulatory streamlining will require Congress to act,” says Crews.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that.

  8. Why is The Donald always signaling free kick in these photos? Last one, free kick to the team on his left, now the team on his right.

  9. In the picture, is Trump pressing his tongue into the side of his cheek?

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too…

  10. Only “Congress can truly return the administrative state to a more limited role. [The] growth of federal regulations is largely the result of Congress handing over too much rulemaking authority to federal agencies?and failing to hold agencies accountable for the rules they create.” Yes indeed!

    This atrocious problem was exacerbated if not actually caused by intellectually-challenged former Supreme Court Justice Stephens’ total disregard of the Constitution in writing the damaging Chevron Doctrine decision. see https://pacificlegal.org /the-greatest-threat-to-liberty

    “As a result, in the decades since the decision the Chevron Doctrine has allowed agencies nearly unfettered authority to determine the limits of their own congressionally bestowed powers, enabled Congress to enacted purposefully ambiguous statutes as a means of avoiding democratic accountability, and left individual liberty subject to the whims of professional bureaucrats. How in any rational sense can such a system be described as a government of limited powers?”

  11. Pada waktu itu, Reason lebih tertarik untuk mengekspos penyalahgunaan kekuasaan yang sebenarnya daripada merendahkan Presiden karena melakukan, pada keseimbangan, pekerjaan yang cukup adil dalam keadaan yang sangat sulit – menguras rawa dan melawan berita palsu MSM. Satu jauh, jauh lebih baik daripada alternatif – Hilary Clinton – akan dilakukan.

  12. Saya akan memulai situs web saya sendiri! Dengan blackjack, dan Pelacur!

  13. Trump’s 2017 register? A mere 61,308 pages, the lowest count since 1993.

    Please, Reason contributors. Please, please, please. Stop citing this metric. It is literally meaningless, and indeed undercuts the general “rollback” message, insofar as pages in the federal register are also required to repeal or amend any existing regulation.

    Never mind that a lot of this rollback is happening in contravention of the APA and may well snap back into place after the litigation gets seriously underway.

    This is pointed out every time you print it, but for some reason it doesn’t sink in. Either you’re idiots or intentionally misleading your audience.

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  15. your incessant ideology that Trump is promoting trade wars, really sucks, he IS NOT A POLITICIAN, he is trying to open up dialogues to eliminate huge trade inequities we have suffered from.. first you deal the cards, then the other side has to play the hand dealt…..Grow up. I’m tired of your ignoring other countries lack of free trade policies.. Like we are the only traders in the world.. the regulations grow because Corrupt Congress refuses to do the work as assigned to them by the Constitution! they pass it off to Departments.. the deep state… Union owned..

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