September 28, 2020

Trump keeps deregulation promise – here’s the proof

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged to reduce the regulatory burden that Americans face. 

Judging by federal records, it’s a promise he’s kept. 

That’s an assessment Clyde Wayne Crews agrees with. Crews serves as policy vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and he recently made a blog post about the subject. 

Shrinking the rule book

“This is the lowest count since records started being kept in the mid-1970s,” Crews said, referring to the 2,964 final rules that appear in the Federal Register.

“It is a notable achievement that all three of the lowest-ever annual rule counts belong to Trump,” Crews continued.

“This an even more significant development given that some of Trump’s ‘rules’ are rules written to get rid of or replace other rules,” he went on, pointing out that rules are “any federal agency action affecting the public, that’s not a law from Congress as it often should be.”

“In other words, even deregulation itself can grow the Federal Register, if aggressive enough, confounding interpretation taken in isolation.”

Yet despite the good news, Crews still sees cause for concern. 

“Trump has numerous regulatory inclinations of his own (antitrust, trade, online speech, workplace social programs, for instance) that do not necessarily (yet) materialize in the Federal Register,” the regulations expert warned. 

“The discordant pro-regulatory inclinations of Trump can easily swamp the few tens of billions in claimed savings of his regulatory rollbacks if he does not back off.”

Crews also made a point of contrasting Trump’s record with that of his immediate predecessor. 

“Former President Obama set the all-time record Federal Register with 95,894 pages in 2016. Trump’s first year had been a 35 percent drop from that height,” he wrote.

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