Lewis Morris / February 14, 2017

The Great Regulatory Rollback of 2017

Trump promised to do it, so now it’s time to deliver. The economy will thank him.

Donald Trump ran for president on a promise to rein in government regulation, which under the Obama administration grew to crippling proportions. There were 3,853 new rules added to the regulatory state in 2016 alone. Trump never said it would be easy.

The regulatory stranglehold that federal agencies have on businesses in this country has choked the nation’s growth, leaving our nation in economic doldrums for close to a decade. The U.S. economy hasn’t topped 3% annual growth since 2005, and the historic post-World War II average is 3.3%.

Since his inauguration, Trump has been ambitious in keeping his promise to roll back regulations. One action that demonstrated his intentions is a January 30 executive order requiring agencies to offset the cost of significant new regulations by eliminating existing regulations or reducing their impact.

The House of Representatives is invigorated by the drive to shrink government reach. They have dusted off the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that allows lawmakers to nullify regulations within 60 days of enactment. The House has nullified eight new federal rules and has its eyes on dozens more, many that were snuck in during the final days of Obama’s presidency.

The automotive sector is looking to be freed of some of its regulatory bonds, chiefly fuel efficiency standards that are threatening thousands of jobs. The heads of 18 automakers asked Trump in a letter late last week to review fuel efficiency standards that were locked in by the Obama administration through 2025.

Tighter fuel regulations handed down by the EPA in 2012 called for a midterm review in April 2018. In November, after Hillary Clinton lost the election, the EPA decided to move up the midterm review, requiring the American automotive fleet to reach 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

The EPA claims that the rule will save $1.7 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the current automotive fleet. However, with gas close to $2 a gallon instead of $4, fuel mileage is a reduced concern for most Americans. And automakers are concerned that the rule will cause great harm to the industry during that term, threatening production and jobs.

If the EPA’s so concerned about fuel mileage, how about getting rid of the ethanol boondoggle.

Trump aims to upset the hold that federal agencies have had on business, and his regulatory rollback is being compared to the one that took place during Ronald Reagan’s administration. The Left has long used the federal bureaucracy to push its statist agenda onto the American public, making an end run around Congress by using agencies to tap into business directly for their tribute. Now with a business-minded Republican in the White House, that method of meddling with the American economy is not quite as in vogue.

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