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Free Minds & Free Markets

Trump Is 'Destroying' Regulations

But will Congress let them rise from the dead?

With his tariffs on aluminum and steel, his family-separating crackdowns on nonviolent illegal immigrants, and his authoritarian musings about executing drug dealers, President Donald Trump is a libertarian's nightmare.

Except when it comes to regulatory reform.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a D.C.-based free-market think tank that focuses on the administrative state, tallied up the number of regulations in Trump's first year in office and found "the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s." CEI's Clyde Wayne Crews told Reason, "I haven't seen personally anything like the regulatory reductions that have taken place."

What's producing these results? Part is the president's early executive orders mandating that for every new regulation two old ones get killed, and that the net imposed regulatory cost of each agency and department be zero. Trump has also appointed some genuine reformers: Scott Gottlieb at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ajit Pai at the Federal Communications Commission, and Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education.

Chief among the anti-bureaucratic bureaucrats is Neomi Rao, administrator of the obscure but important Office for Regulatory Affairs, which applies cost-benefit analyses to proposed regulations while making sure they still align with legislative intent. Rao, who came to the administration after founding the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University, tells Reason, "We have done more in our first year than any president since we've been keeping records, which is back to Reagan."

President Trump appears genuinely enthusiastic about this push, talking up FDA reforms in both of his State of the Union addresses and crowing at a December red-tape-cutting ceremony that the "never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden screeching and beautiful halt."

But Crews warns that a midterm will be much harder for Trump to navigate than the comparative honeymoon of 2017. "I think in 2018, he's going to have a much tougher time meeting the goal," Crews said. "When you're acting alone as president and you can't make law on your own, the barrier that you run into is you run out of low-hanging fruit."

Produced by Matt Welch and Alexis Garcia. Camera by Todd Krainin, Ian Keyser, Mark McDaniel, and Jim Epstein.

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  • SQRLSY One||

    If the FDA is in the lead for reducing absolutely silly regulations, then this is indicative the the feds have a LONG LONG way to go! The "Medical Acoustics" version of a "lung flute" is a silly little plastic flute, and it STILL requires a doctor's prescription for you to buy one!

    If'n ye are a horrible, would-be criminal, willing to violate patent rights, you COULD make your OWN homemade lung flute! Do NOT do that, I'm a tellin' ya!!! Since I am VERY concerned about letting everyone know EXACTLY what it is that they shouldn't do (so that they can stay in the good graces of Government Almighty), I have put up a new web page at http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ ...

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You are a hell of a character.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You sure do like to toot your own horn.

  • SQRLSY One||

    It's not much like tooting on a horn... It's more like blowing raspberries! It really is incredibly silly and trivial. See and hear a video demo of the "official" product here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prKkSSD8I3o

    "Using sound waves to clear mucus" == "coughing"... Next thing ye know, ye will need a PRESCRIPTION for coughing!!!

    (Yes, I 'fess, not so much to tooting my own horn, I do like to blow my own raspberries!!!)

  • SQRLSY One||

    PS, ya probably already figured this out, but... When I do blow my own raspberries, it is generally just about always in the general direction of being towards Government Almighty, and often more specifically, in the general direction of the FDA. I'm tempted to fart in their general direction, but I'm not sure that it's permissible to do that!

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Blowing your own raspberries should be perfectly legal, so long as you don't pay yourself for such an act. In that case you're guilty of two crimes.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Two comments which would might be answered if I listened to the video.

    1. "the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s" is frankly unbelievable. I could believe it's the fewest new regulations, but not the total count of all existing regulations.

    2. How much of his regulatory rollback is from "cut two for every new one" and other explicit out-of-the-blue rollbacks, and how much is from Congress using that law (CRA?) to roll back recent regs within 90 days of being published? Or IOW, how much is this rollback going to slow down as time takes not-quite-recent new regulations out of the scope of teh CRA?

  • SimonP||

    The window for using the CRA to cut back Obama regulations is long closed. It's only good for Trump-era regs now.

    The proxy they're using for counting regulations is just what's been published in the Federal Register, where all new rulemaking must be published. So the most honest way to describe what's going on is to say that the agencies just haven't issued many new rules. That would be true. "Destroying regulations," no. They're not repealing many regulations, and they're not improving on the ones that need to be improved, at anywhere near the rate to merit that kind of description.

    Whether that's anything to celebrate, I question. People need to understand that we have a ton of laws that actually require regulations to be promulgated, and there are a lot of areas where the agencies just haven't done that. Or there are statutes whose meaning and effect is unclear. Without regulations, people can be subject to the statutes and have an idea of what they're supposed to do, but they don't have regulatory guidance on what they do. So where does that get decided? In court, eventually. How's that better?

    You don't want regulations compelling crib-makers to test their cribs so they don't kill your baby? Fine. But crib-makers sure would like to know how they can avoid getting sued for failing to safely design their cribs. Regulations do that. Unfortunately, the Republican approach to that problem is just to make it harder to sue the crib-makers for killing your baby.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Why do you assume it's worse to deal with faulty cribs in court than to shackle an entire society with a one size fits all solution, mountains of red tape, and lots of artificially created work for lawyers and bureaucrats, affecting the 99.9% of cribs which are not faulty?

  • SimonP||

    Nothing about dealing with the matter in court avoids "one size fits all solutions," and the "artificially created work" is (at least ostensibly) about weighing the costs and benefits of the regulation by informed experts that are at least indirectly politically accountable - which a judge is not.

    What possible basis do you have for the assertion that 99.9% of cribs would not be faulty, absent regulation? Why would any private industry actor have the incentive for achieving such a high level of perfection, absent a legal requirement to do so?

  • BigT||

    "What possible basis do you have for the assertion that 99.9% of cribs would not be faulty, absent regulation? Why would any private industry actor have the incentive for achieving such a high level of perfection, absent a legal requirement to do so?"

    Um....let me think. It'll come to me.... Maybe so they won't get sued and have to pay damages? Maybe so they won't get dragged through the press and have their reputation destroyed and lose their business? Maybe even because they don't want to harm people?

    See, that wasn't so tough, was it.

  • SimonP||

    Um....let me think. It'll come to me.... Maybe so they won't get sued and have to pay damages?

    Yeah, but that threat may, in practical terms, mean that they're only worried about achieving a 90% non-faulty rate (say), and they'll rely on quiet settlements and rigorous legal defenses to fend off lawsuits. With Republicans in power, they'll get an assist when class actions are harder to pursue and damages are capped.

    Every private firm strikes a balance between exposure to legal liability and the costs required to avoid that exposure. That balance will always be cut in the private firm's favor - not in the public interest. So, yes, an unregulated crib industry can quite obviously be expected to kill a certain number of babies every year. NDAs deal with public exposure. Settlements with lawsuits. As long as the costs of those agreements doesn't exceed the costs of perfecting crib design/manufacture, that's the balance that crib makers will strike.

  • vek||

    Why did basically every single safety innovation in the auto industry come long before government regulations? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A MARKET INCENTIVE TO MAKE A BETTER PRODUCT THAN COMPETITORS. Especially when the product might kill somebody.

  • SimonP||

    Why did basically every single safety innovation in the auto industry come long before government regulations? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A MARKET INCENTIVE TO MAKE A BETTER PRODUCT THAN COMPETITORS.

    So are you admitting that government regulations in the auto industry are effective and don't place much of a burden on the auto industry?

    Regulators should be encouraged to draw upon private-market innovations, particularly those that are increasingly widely adopted, when fashioning regulatory mandates. That keeps costs down and helps to ensure the regulations will have beneficial net results. But the fact that they often do so doesn't mean the regulations are unnecessary.

  • Azathoth!!||

    So are you admitting that government regulations in the auto industry are effective and don't place much of a burden on the auto industry?

    No, he's pointing out that government regulators have added little safety--but have incurred great cost.

  • SimonP||

    Regulators have "incurred" great cost by requiring car manufacturers to do what many of them were doing already?

  • vek||

    As a matter of fact they have! Auto makers have tried to increase fuel economy since the 70s when people realized the middle east is fucked, and maybe oil wouldn't ALWAYS be cheap. So they were doing the right thing as it made sense.

    But the government mandating arbitrary fuel economy requirements has made massive multi billion dollar companies have to turn on a dime to meet arbitrary requirements, sometimes having to abandon engines, or chassis that were just barely released, wasting billions and billions of dollars. When they were already going for that end result anyway, but just doing it in a sensible manner.

    This has also reduced features that consumers desire in many instances, and increased costs. Many cars in the USA now have had smaller, crappier engines thrown in just to meet MPG reqs. They've had to use more carbon fiber and aluminum, which increases costs, and in some uses lowers the quality of the vehicle.

    Also so that Obama could pretend he was doing something good... When the companies were already progressing steadily anyway. It's like if the gov had mandated all PCs needed to have 24" flat screen monitors in 1995... It COULD have been done, but it would have been so fucking stupid and inefficient it would make no sense. If you let the tech advance as it makes sense, it's a lot better.

  • Phos||

    Even worse regulations that specify the technology to be used, prohibit other solutions that may be cheaper and/or more effective.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Here's what at the time Trump had to say about red tape:

    "You know I'm automatically attracted to deregulation... I just start cutting them. It's like scissors. Just cut. I don't even wait. And when you're president they let you do it. You can do anything."

  • ||

    Between this and Gorsuch I can excuse a lot. A whole lot.

  • colorblindkid||

    Most of the bad stuff is just words and him being a fucking moronic asshole, but when it comes down to his actions, I think he's still better than Hillary would have been, mainly because she would have 95% of the press still fawning over her and saying any criticism of her was sexist.

  • SimonP||

    Ignoring the law on Russian sanctions and slow-walking any efforts to counteract Russian meddling in American elections?

    Putting an inexperienced and corrupt 35-year-old in charge of negotiating mideast peace?

    Embracing illiberal autocracies and alienating our longtime allies on trade and security?

    Doing his best to make Obamacare implode, despite the fact that it's still the law and people are relying on it?

    Embracing a mercantilist approach to trade?

    Financing a massive tax cut that we didn't need with a big sock to the national debt?

    If you don't view intentionally creating chaos in government, short-sighted domestic policy and an abdication from the world stage creating a power vacuum that will be filled by China, Russia, and other antagonists to the free west as a "bad thing," then I suppose it's natural you would view Trump's presidency to be preferable to a theoretical Hillary presidency. She surely would have continued much of the Obama status quo. But then I also wonder what you're doing on a libertarian website called "Reason."

  • Pathogen||

    Ignoring the law on Russian sanctions and slow-walking any efforts to counteract Russian meddling in American elections?
    LOOOOOL

    Putting an inexperienced and corrupt 35-year-old in charge of negotiating mideast peace?
    Can't do much worse than Lurch..

    Embracing illiberal autocracies and alienating our longtime allies on trade and security?
    A time honored tradition among our presidents. Trump isn't the first, and sadly.. wont be the last..

    Doing his best to make Obamacare implode, despite the fact that it's still the law and people are relying on it?
    O-Care has been a complete and total gov't manufactured train-wreck since day one. A cynic might even think it was engineered to fail, and usher in single payer..

    Embracing a mercantilist approach to trade?
    Guilty..

    Financing a massive tax cut that we didn't need with a big sock to the national debt?
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so.. speak for yourself there..

  • SimonP||

    LOOOOOL

    You can "LOL" if you like, but the Russians aren't going to stop at getting Republicans elected. They'll choose the Republicans they want to push into office, so your lulz-fest is going to come to an end pretty quick.

    Can't do much worse than Lurch..

    Sure you can. You can engineer the beginning of the end of Israel as a Jewish state, which Kushner seems to be walking blindly into.

    A time honored tradition among our presidents. Trump isn't the first, and sadly.. wont be the last..

    Prior presidents at least had the sense to choose wisely. Who embraces Sisi and shuns Merkel? Putin over May? Wait, is there a pattern there?

    O-Care has been a complete and total gov't manufactured train-wreck since day one. A cynic might even think it was engineered to fail, and usher in single payer..

    Would this "cynic" be Trump?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so.. speak for yourself there..

    Trump has engineered taking a cash advance on the national credit card. Sure, it's nice to have that cash now. Companies are investing in share buybacks, as predicted, inflating executive compensation packages and rewarding shareholders. If you've got a 401(k), that must be exciting. Maybe you're getting a few more dollars in your paycheck. But it's going to come back to bite us, when things are less rosy. Short-sighted in the extreme.

  • Sevo||

    SimonP|3.12.18 @ 8:27PM|#
    "You can "LOL" if you like, but the Russians aren't going to stop at getting Republicans elected. They'll choose the Republicans they want to push into office, so your lulz-fest is going to come to an end pretty quick."

    Tin foil hats are on special, just for imbeciles like you.

  • SimonP||

    There was a story just a few days ago about how the Russian trolls tried to drum up opposition to Romney as Secretary of State. Try to keep up.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    They're just doing the bidding of the Lizard ppl. Now who's struggling to keep up?

    Sure you can. You can engineer the beginning of the end of Israel as a Jewish state, which Kushner seems to be walking blindly into.

    Recognizing a nation's capital is usually the first sign of it's destruction. IT IS KNOWN.

    Prior presidents at least had the sense to choose wisely. Who embraces Sisi and shuns Merkel? Putin over May? Wait, is there a pattern there?

    As opposed to Castro over Cameron. Khomeni over Netanyahu. Weeee, this is fun.

    But it's going to come back to bite us, when things are less rosy. Short-sighted in the extreme.

    You're confusing the spending side of the ledger with the taxing side. Would this "cynic" be Bernie?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Capitol to head off the stupid pedantry.

  • SimonP||

    Recognizing a nation's capital is usually the first sign of it's destruction. IT IS KNOWN.

    Acknowledging Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel - without gaining any concession whatsoever from Netanyahu in the peace process - clearly signaled to both the Palestinians and Israelis that the U.S. was firmly behind Netanyahu and likely prefigured final-status negotiations on Jerusalem itself. So where does the peace process go from there? Well, pay attention to what the Israeli Right is saying: a single-state solution. And what will be the consequence of embracing that final outcome, do you think? Will the world tolerate ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories, or a permanent apartheid state? Or will Israel be forced to assimilate Palestinians into Israeli politics and society?

    As opposed to Castro over Cameron. Khomeni over Netanyahu. Weeee, this is fun.

    Obama chose Castro over Cameron? News to me. And your dichotomy of Khomeini over Netanyahu leaves out a crucial middle term - the Saudis - while ignoring Israel's very real threats to initiate a regional war over Iran's nuclear program. Also, pushing back against Netanyahu's astonishing sense of entitlement regarding American largesse, in cash, arms, and geopolitical cover, was prudent. That son of a bitch needs to learn his place.

    You're confusing the spending side of the ledger with the taxing side.

    Which makes no difference to the debt or deficit numbers. The debt's still the debt.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    This is what happens when you don't get vaccinated, kids.

    Precisely what "concessions" shoild be required to recognize a capitol? Yoir ethnic cleansing claims are just a tad over the top, don't you think? That sort of thing is more the purview of the enlightened left and their ontime trains.

    So you don't recall barry pressing the "reset" button with Putin and giving him everything he wanted in eastern europe and the middle east? He didn't suck up to castro and backhand the uk? Umm, ok, I guess that might be true in your fever dreams but here in the real world your fantasies ain't doin so hot.

    Finally, tax cuts and spending aren't the same at all. The unfunded liabilities of the welfare state slwould require confiscating all wages today. In your world a straw and a firehose are equivalent. In a world qith self-consistent mathematics, they're not.

  • Sevo||

    SimonP|3.12.18 @ 10:54PM|#
    "There was a story just a few days ago about how the Russian trolls tried to drum up opposition to Romney as Secretary of State. Try to keep up."

    Yeah, I'll be they used amateurish gifs AND FUCKHEAD INGNORMUSES LIKE YOU WERE CONVINCED!
    Try to act like and adult, shitbag.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "You can "LOL" if you like, but the Russians aren't going to stop at getting Republicans elected."

    They'd have to start at it, before stopping, wouldn't they? I'm not saying I like having Russia spending money to influence our elections by generating stupid facebook memes, but their efforts were a trivial fraction of election speech in 2016, and I think we'll survive it.

  • SimonP||

    I'm not saying I like having Russia spending money to influence our elections by generating stupid facebook memes, but their efforts were a trivial fraction of election speech in 2016, and I think we'll survive it.

    You need to stop believing the convenient lies that Republicans are telling about the Russians.

    It wasn't just facebook memes. It was a coordinated hack and release of Podesta's e-mails that resulted in the drip-drip of disclosures that kept Hillary on her heels throughout the campaign and distracted from every embarrassing scandal revealed about Trump. "Grab her by the pussy" was immediately followed by a new document dump, upending the news cycle as gullible journalists mused openly about what another set of e-mails meant.

    It is not hard imagining Russia (or other hostile state actors) doing something similar to undermine Republican politicians they don't view as sufficiently suitable to their purposes. Russia didn't want Romney in as Secretary as State. Instead they got Tillerson, who has proven to be probably the worst Secretary of State in recent memory. Perfect!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And yet somehow you're not concerned anout the direct pipeline between russian intelligence and the clinton campaign. Let me guess: Steele is a true patriot.

    You should just stick with saying it was the lizard ppl what done it; that sounds more rational.

  • Sevo||

    "Between this and Gorsuch I can excuse a lot. A whole lot."
    I was pretty happy until the tariffs; what a bomb!

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Unless Trump wants to prepare for war and needs a lot of steel and other war material produced at home. Who knows? Although the tariffs might just stem from economic ignorance or cold-blooded political pragmatism (sucking up to a few industrial swing States).

  • BigT||

    All the tariff stuff is just a negotiating ploy. Notice how fast Canada and Mexico got passes? Most of our allies will similarly get passes when they push back a bit. The blue collar folks in the Midwest will remember the tariffs helping them but the free passes will be forgotten. It's win-win for Trump. Win the negotiation and amp up swing voters.

    Trump continues to play the same game over and over and most of you don't get it.

    Keep America Great!

  • SimonP||

    Whether it's an actual strategy he has in mind is debatable, in my view, but what you seem to be saying is that Trump will appeal to swing voters because (i) he promises tariffs to prop up domestic steel manufacturers which (ii) he'll immediately undermine so that they'll be nowhere near as helpful as initially promises while (iii) due to their lack of impact, they won't affect broader job or economic growth in the ways most economists fear. In other words, he's basically just using the power of his office to lie to people.

    Is that right?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    My understanding at this point, is that the tariffs are all about the Chinese laundering steel they're dumping in America through other countries. Taking advantage of NAFTA to get around already existing limits on Chinese dumping by routing the sales through Mexico and Canada, for instance.

    The exemption is temporary, contingent on NAFTA being renegotiated to prevent Canada and Mexico from being used by China in this way.

  • SimonP||

    My understanding at this point, is that the tariffs are all about the Chinese laundering steel they're dumping in America through other countries.

    Wow, you are powerfully stupid. You'll accept any rationalization for Trump, won't you?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Said without a hint of irony...

  • Fk_Censorship||

    From an economic point of view, what's the issue with the Chinese subsidizing American steel? It's like saying the sun is dumping light on the US, hurting the light bulb industry.

  • Rich||

    the obscure but important Office for Regulatory Affairs, which applies cost-benefit analyses to proposed regulations while making sure they still align with legislative intent.

    Hmm. How about a similar office that does that for every fucking proposed *law*?

  • Phos||

    How about objective standards for success that if not met in the specified timeline, automatically nullify the bill?

    And let anyone add these kill-amendments based on the statements of any proponent of the legislation?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "And who is in favor of regulations that aren't working?"

    Efficacy is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Juice||

    He's destroying those trade and immigration regulations all right.

  • Stilgar||

    So.. did reason say the same during the first year of Osama when over 300 rules were removed and nearly 11,000 pages? Didn't think so. While true that the drop this first year under Trump is more than the first years under Obama and Bush II, it is also true that there is high variation from year to year in the number of rules and pages (see Bush II when in one year number or rules was stable yet pages went up 10K).

  • ragebot||

    Not disputing the claim about Obama getting rid of regs but would like a link, not to mention specifics about the rules he ended. Given the number of pages in Obamacare alone (I know what year it was in) and claims I have seen about the increases under Obama I have to wonder about what I will call the net under Obama compared to others.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Finding regulations that no longer work is a frightening prospect for bureaucracies, especially if those bureaucracies have never really worked in the first place. Something tells me the TSA isn't under threat, unfortunately.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, as soon as cutting regulations turns into cutting regulatory jobs, the claws will come out.

  • Nuwanda||

    The sentiment's been expressed before that if we had to pay the same army of bureaucrats to go to the office every day, on full pay, and do nothing but drink coffee and play games, the cost would be worth it compared to the same bunch enforcing their regulations.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    If the private sector, in order to accomplish anything, has to go through the bureaucrats because of these regulation , then bureaucrats drinking coffee and playing games 75% of the time can be almost as bad as bureaucrats implementing new regulations 100% of the time.

  • Nuwanda||

    "anti-bureaucratic bureaucrats"

    I prefer the term enforcer.

  • Nuwanda||

    This is all very well, but how many of these regulatory rollbacks have been actual removal of the statutes that enable the regulations?

    It sounds like most of it is executive orders and putting the right people in key positions.

  • SimonP||

    Very little. Indeed, what little this Congress has managed to do has just increased the need for clarifying regulations.

  • SimonP||

    It bears repeating - apparently, because you're either idiots or liars - that simply counting the number of pages in the Federal Register is an extremely poor proxy for evaluating Trump's regulatory rollback. This is so because repealing existing regulations itself adds to the Federal Register's bulk, and ought reasonably to be expected to inflate it by quite a significant amount, if the agencies took Trump's various mandates seriously. In addition, various exemptions, carveouts, and rationalizations have to be published and fulsomely explained in those pages before they can be effective.

    Basically, a skinnier Federal Register means that the agencies aren't doing much of anything. They're not issuing new regulations, but they're not lessening the burden of existing ones either, nor are they issuing sometimes quite necessary regulations to make existing statutes work in a way that businesses and lawyers can understand and plan around.

    If you want to understand what's happening, it's this: While incompetent, inexperienced political appointees continue to struggle to get their hands around their respective bureaucracies, lifelong, dedicated public servants are keeping their heads down and waiting Trump out. They did that during the Bush years, and they're doing it now. Businesses in regulated industries are getting a temporary reprieve, but you can bet that every one of them is putting an asterisk on their business strategies post-Trump.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Excellent point. I'm skeptical about imposing term limits on congress for the same reason. It might make bureaucrats even more powerful while it reduces incumbents and floods the market for lobbyists.

  • JWatts||

    " This is so because repealing existing regulations itself adds to the Federal Register's bulk,"

    This is bullshit.

    There were 3,853 rules in 2016, there were 3,281 rules in 2017. The amount of regulatory rules was reduced. You're a complete idiot if you are trying to argue that 570 less rules is somehow worse.

  • SimonP||

    There were 3,853 rules in 2016, there were 3,281 rules in 2017. The amount of regulatory rules was reduced. You're a complete idiot if you are trying to argue that 570 less rules is somehow worse.

    And you're an ignoramus if you find these data points meaningful.

    The video cites 3,281 new rules in 2017. What counts as a "rule"? Does this count include only additional regulatory obligations, or does it include anything published in the Federal Register under a separate entry? Could they be picking up regulatory releases that propose to revise or rescind existing regulations? It's not clear.

    Have you ever actually read the Federal Register? Do you have any idea how the federal bureaucracy works?

    Rules in the Federal Register are not necessarily bad things. Sometimes they do add burdensome requirements that businesses have to comply with for no demonstrably good reason. But sometimes they also provide exceptions and carveouts to rules that businesses can benefit from. Sometimes they add clarity to statutory provisions that are unclear. No one who is going by a page count or the number of separate entries some intern tallied over the course of a year is doing a serious analysis. And people like you, who believe their "analysis," are just gullible idiots.

    It's a good lesson in what "fake news" is. This is exactly how it gets its start. Someone lies. Idiots believe them.

  • Sevo||

    "Rules in the Federal Register are not necessarily bad things. Sometimes they do add burdensome requirements that businesses have to comply with for no demonstrably good reason. But sometimes they also provide exceptions and carveouts to rules that businesses can benefit from."

    So some of the regs make some of the others not as horrible, and therefore we should learn to love the regs?
    What a fucking idiot!

  • SimonP||

    Did I say that? No. I said that sometimes regulations in the Federal Register are beneficial - even from a pro-liberty perspective - so going by an analysis that just counts pages is stupid.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    What's stupid is confusing implementing WOTUS and CPP with progress.

  • SimonP||

    And what I'm saying is that, whatever you think of WOTUS and CPP, you can't repeal them without publishing an extensive discussion of what you're doing in the Federal Register, and you can't duck a legal obligation to have some rules in place on those issues - either defining the regulated bodies of water subject to the Clean Water Act or reducing carbon dioxide emissions as required under the Clean Air Act and Supreme Court caselaw. So, by all means, cut red tape! Harmonize regulatory regimes! Reduce burdens! But none of that happens without a publication in the Federal Register. The fact that it's so thin is a problem for people who are opposed to over-regulation.

  • Sevo||

    SimonP|3.13.18 @ 8:31AM|#

    "And what I'm saying is that, whatever you think of WOTUS and CPP, you can't repeal them without publishing an extensive discussion of what you're doing in the Federal Register, and you can't duck a legal obligation to have some rules in place on those issues - either defining the regulated bodies of water subject to the Clean Water Act or reducing carbon dioxide emissions as required under the Clean Air Act and Supreme Court caselaw. So, by all means, cut red tape! Harmonize regulatory regimes! Reduce burdens! But none of that happens without a publication in the Federal Register. The fact that it's so thin is a problem for people who are opposed to over-regulation."

    If it can be established by executive decision, it can be removed by same, even if there is a 5-minute discussion required.
    What a fucking slimeball.

  • Chumby||

    I should ask him to change my twenty with five fives.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    " lifelong, dedicated public servants are keeping their heads down and waiting Trump out. "

    I've no doubt they're dedicated. What worries me is, to what?

  • SimonP||

    Good policy, the rule of law, the American republic. You know, all of those things you don't give a shit about.

  • vek||

    I'm pretty sure you meant to say "communism," but I'll forgive the mistake.

  • SimonP||

    I'm pretty sure you don't know what "communism" is.

  • Sevo||

    SimonP|3.13.18 @ 11:05AM|#
    "I'm pretty sure you don't know what "communism" is."
    I'm certain you don't know either, but, as a fucking ignoramus, you are here to prove it to us.
    Have at it, ignoramus.

  • vek||

    Wait, do I have something confused here? Isn't communism when you hate every principle America was founded on, worship wealth redistribution (no matter the economic harm!), social justice at the expense of common sense and reality, and cry profusely first thing every morning when you wake up and remember that your shitty presidential candidate lost to a reality TV star with bad hair?

    Or is that some other ideology I'm thinking of?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Reason cannot cast the first stone, not after perpetuating the fallacy that "winning" means putting a candidate on the gubmint payroll. Trump had to pander to bigots, racial collectivists and nationalsocialist mystics because they vote! But their clout is fading fast. The Prohibition Party is backing away from the Coathanger Abortion Amendment that replaced its efforts to bring back the 18th Amendment. They even pander to Warmunist CO2ercion prophesies and call for men with guns for that. The GOP is less prohibitionist than in 1980, and the Dems are too hung up on banning electricity to notice the recurrence of the Opportunity of 1932. The LP vote share is on a hockey stick increase because 19th-Century political parties are dying of senility. Winning is using spoiler votes to repeal bad laws, pure and simple.

  • Longtobefree||

    Excellent citations. Makes you arguments look much more effective than the usual ranting.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Not really. he still comes off as the usual ranting, anti christ, abortion obsessed bigot. His writing just sounds like maybe he took his meds for once. Or at least some of them.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "With his tariffs on aluminum and steel, his family-separating crackdowns on nonviolent illegal immigrants, and his authoritarian musings about executing drug dealers, President Donald Trump is a libertarian's nightmare."

    All Reason articles come obligatory TDS virtue signaling.

  • Tony||

    How dare a libertarian magazine criticize the president of the United States, after all.

  • vek||

    Well, "nightmare" is a bit much right? I mean I don't know if they ever used the world "nightmare" to describe Obama one single time. I don't recall it if they did. So, TDS it is IMO.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Matt is still just bitterly wetting himself that Trump isn't into open borders at any cost.

  • vek||

    Well Trump does like his tacos... But he just doesn't think there needs to be a taco truck on EVERY single corner ;)

  • SIV||

    President Donald Trump is a libertarian's nightmare.

    Except when it comes to regulatory reform.

    There's a whole Hell of a lot of other exceptions. Which post-Coolidge president is less of "a libertarian's nightmare"?
    C'mon....I'm waiting...

  • Tony||

    If you think that willy-nilly cutting regulations is in and of itself good, you are a fucking idiot. This is for reasons that are obvious to people who aren't fucking idiots.

  • Finrod||

    Your problem, Tony, is that you're completely oblivious that you're a fucking idiot.

  • Tony||

    How dare you call me oblivious.

  • Sevo||

    "How dare you call me oblivious."
    Because it's a step of two down from "ignoramus" and you deserve it.

  • vek||

    What about cutting some of the thousands of known stupid regulations??? Does EVERY nonsense rule that gets administratively added to the books at some federal agency deserve to stay there until the fucking sun burns out???

  • Sevo||

    Tony|3.13.18 @ 12:35AM|#
    "If you think that willy-nilly cutting regulations is in and of itself good, you are a fucking idiot."
    If you think asserting something is equal to making an argument, you are a fucking idiot and further a fucking idiot for being called on it.
    Fucking idiot.

  • dbs5347||

    There's nothing about libertarianism that requires open borders or permitting foreign invaders to live unlawfully in the country.

  • TLBD||

    No, there is not. Libertarians believe in limited government, and zero legitimate libertarians believe that one of the limited powers of government isn't the security of our borders. Anarchy is not libertarianism.

    Reason is beholden to the Kochs, who love open borders because it drives down wages and the population increase delays the inevitable implosion of our welfare state. You'd think Reason would be more interested in an educated, happy and healthy populace that is reasonable enough to face the challenges and rely less on the state.

    Instead, they want to import 3rd world socialists and 3rd world soon-to-be socialists who will vote for the authoritarian Democrats. The censorious, government loving, authoritarian Democrats will destroy liberty in this nation, as they have already in almost every area they have a strong-hold. For some reason, Reason is lining up to give them the tools to do so. Sad, and sick, or inexcusably stupid if you love liberty.

  • vek||

    Don't forget that they're a net tax drain on native Americans because low skill immigrants are are income immigrants too! And come on, who doesn't like lowering the average standard of living in such a big, fancy, overly posh nation like the USA? To not be for lowering Americans standard of living is, like, basically, being an evil Nazi or something like that. It's true, I think Al Gore said it once!

  • Juice||

    Nothing but the non-aggression principle.

  • TLBD||

    Reason still losing its mind over the steel tariffs. How much more obvious does it need to get that he is using them as a bargaining tool?

    Apparently Reason's trade policy is about as deep as its foreign policy. If we are just good enough libertarians, we can let them do what they want and all will be A-OK! What is the word... appeasement? How has that worked throughout history?

  • BigT||

    Every August Bear Bryant would be asked: "How does your team look this year?" And every year the Bear would say: "They're awful young, inexperienced. We lost so many starters and are going to be relying on many boys who have never played in college."

    He was lowering expectations of Alabama fans and the press. This way, they were expecting a mediocre season and when Bama won 10 or 11 games they would be pleased.

    Trump is doing the same thing. It's a standard negotiating ploy. Lower your opposition's expectations - tariffs for everyone - and get them to be happy with something less onerous - carve-outs for Canada and Mexico. He has done this over and over again. It's what car salespeople do - show you the sticker price to set your expectations and then find a way to cut the price by a couple of grand so you feel GOOD about the deal while they make a tidy profit.

    And Welch and Moynihan shit their pants each time and never catch on. It's as if they never worked in the business world - or even the sports world. Their TDS gives them an emotional response and drives out all reason. Gillespie is almost as bad.

  • grickm||

    When you say "...his family-separating crackdowns on nonviolent illegal immigrants...President Donald Trump is a libertarian's nightmare...."

    That's an interesting take from a "libertarian." Have you decided that rule of law and individual responsibility do not apply to illegal aliens? Do you complain about "family separation" when some guy who has a family robs a store and goes to jail for it? Shouldn't we assume that people who come here illegally understand the consequences of breaking our laws? Yes, it's sad when families are broken, but it's also sad how many of us seem to have abandoned the principles that made this country great. And here I thought being "libertarian" meant full understanding of individual responsibility for our actions.

  • Phos||

    Shouldn't the Rule of Law, apply to the government not exceeding their enumerated powers. (Hint- immigration is not one of those.)

    When some guy robs a store, there are direct victims.

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