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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Fewer New Regulations Under Trump

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Anyone concerned about the costand intrusivenessof the regulatory state will doubtless be interested in reading a recent reporton Trump's first six months, by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Crews compares Trump to each of the presidents over the past twenty years and concludes that, "Trump is so far the least regulatory president of all."

This good news, and, in addition to backing up his contention, he adds the following note of caution:

Trump's mode so far is regulating bureaucrats rather than regulating the private sector, with rules to limit their rules. Even more importantly, more unswervingly than any other, the administration has incorporated regulatory dark matter into reforming the administrative state in both his freeze and the two-out requirement. This material consists of all the memoranda, guidance, notices, bulletins and other proclamations (including threats and bad publicity) with which bureaucrats create or influence policy, but that escape the (already inadequate) discipline of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act.

All this seems significant in terms of history of the regulatory state. The drop between Clinton and Bush was dramatic, but otherwise last time we saw anything comparable to today's reduction was when both regulations and Federal Register page counts dropped over a third under Reagan. But that didn't last.

Similarly, the longevity of a Trump rule-making hiatus will depend upon Congress passing legislation such as the bipartisan 2017 Regulatory Accountability Act to codify the best elements of the past few decades of regulatory oversight executive orders, as well as enhance congressional accountability for what agencies do. [links in original]
This is true, but more important, there will be no permanent reduction in number or scope of intrusive laws until a more fundamental cultural change occurs: The people who elect our lawmakers once again come to regard government's sole purpose as protector of individual rights. Without principled opposition to the government pushing people around (even including when it tells us to do reasonable things), any controls left in place will, with the precedent that the government is a substitute brain left unchallenged, ultimately breed more controls.

-- CAV

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