The most renowned of President Donald Trump’s economic policy successes during his brief tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the United States has been the tax cuts and their results.
The recent move to place high trade tariffs on China, among others, is probably the next most noted item. The fact that China has responded by offers to open its markets more to imports from other nations makes this trade negotiation effort look promising.
However, with few exceptions, one of the most economically beneficial policies enacted by the Trump administration is being ignored by the media at large. That is the phenomenal amount of deregulation which has been ongoing since the start of Trump’s presidency.
The Rate of Deregulation Exceeds Trump’s Promise
The President made the deregulation promise during his campaign and at the beginning of his term. He promised that for every regulation his administration enacted, two regulations would be done away with.
He has more than delivered on that promise. During the first year, for every regulation enacted there were 22 regulations removed! That amounted to a reduction of 33,944 pages from the 2016 Federal Register.
The calendar year (2017) concluded with 61,950 pages in the Federal Register. …A year ago, Obama set the all-time Federal Register page record with 95,894 pages.
The executive branch of the government is charged by the Constitution to enforce the law. Federal regulations govern how the law is enforced. They are basically laws meant to aid in enforcing other laws. How much does the enormous task of administering and enforcing such an incredible amount of regulations cost the taxpayers?
The Cost of Regulations Is Unbelievable
The Hill reported about a study which tabulated the cost of federal regulations during 2015. The study claimed that the price tag for administering federal regulations for 2015 was almost 2 trillion dollars.
The Competitive Enterprise’s (CEI) ninth annual Ten Thousand Commandments report claims the federal government issued 80,260 pages of rules in 2015. …The price tag for all these rules adds up to 1.88 trillion…
The recent Omnibus ‘budget’ (which is not really a budget, but that’s another article), costs a whopping 1.3 trillion dollars. A significant reduction of this cost and the deficit could be accomplished if the regulatory cost was reduced by 25% or even 50%. Such results could mean a huge boost to the American economy.
President Trump has loftier goals. At a January 2017 meeting,
the president told business leaders, “We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent.” Most economists, even conservative ones, don’t take Trump’s target seriously.
Most of the ‘experts’ think the president is setting an unreasonable, unobtainable goal. However, he has defied such critics before and so far as president, Trump is generally proving them wrong.
Bigger Than the Tax Cuts?
The President has mentioned in the recent past that cutting regulations were “as big as what we did with the tax cuts.” In fact, the potential of benefitting the economy could surpass that of the tax cuts.
Consider that the effect of making the Federal Register of regulations smaller is to make the federal government itself smaller. Cutting back on regulations at the EPA, for example, has coincided with the department requesting less funding for 2018 than the year prior. That is virtually unheard of in Washington D.C.
When the government is reduced in size, the cost of government is also reduced. When the cost goes down, smaller amounts of revenue are necessary to fund the government. Therefore, things such as the tax cuts can reasonably be made permanent. That and more is possible when the mammoth federal bureaucracy begins to shrink.
The Shrinking of the Bureaucracy
A consistent principle of conservatism is that government must remain small. A concurrent principle if that it must only do what is required constitutionally. Deregulation’s effect of reducing government size shrinks the inefficient federal bureaucracy, thus moving toward those principles.
It does so by reducing the amount of workload needed to administer the regulations. After all, fewer administrators are necessary if there are fewer regulations to administer. Of course, this will also eventually mean the loss of jobs in the government.
However, with the boom in business created, most should be able to find suitable employment. That’s because such huge deregulation, should it continue, will help existing business and draw out new business ventures.
A Huge Draw for Businesses and Entrepreneurs
One of the most common complaints of those who own and operate small businesses is the crippling cost of compliance with government regulations. President Trump mentioned the huge burden this puts on businesses at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last January.
I think the tax cuts are incredible. But I think the regulations, the cutting of regulations — because the businesses couldn’t even — they couldn’t do anything. They were totally bound. You’d have to get 16 different approvals from 15 different agencies.
Excessive and wasteful regulation makes business far too difficult than it should be. It also dissuades the potential entrepreneurs who might otherwise contribute in significant ways to the economy.
Perhaps the saddest fact in this is how a reliance on government regulation stifles innovations in private society. The potential benefits of deregulation mean this innovation can be released and the private sector can thrive as it should.
Deregulation directly reduces prohibitive costs and is thus inherently attractive to established small businesses and those who wish to begin new ventures. It also simplifies the process of actually doing business. That itself is an invitation to new commerce and all its benefits for America.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. Isa 60:5 [ESV]
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
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Inset Image 3 courtesy of Richard Roche’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
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