Deregulation Remained Impressive in 2018
Meanwhile, December's jobs report was superb, to say the least.
The midpoint of President Donald Trump’s first term is fast approaching. One area in which the Trump administration deserves accolades is in its curtailing of government regulations. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews reports, in 2017, the Federal Register — the government’s regulation repository — “concluded with 61,308 pages under Trump; that was the lowest count in a quarter-century (since 61,166 pages under Bill Clinton in 1993).” It’s also significantly below Barack Obama’s 2016 record of 95,894 pages.
“This time,” Crews continues, “2018 Federal Register has topped out at 68,082 pages. … That’s a 10 percent increase for Trump over his first year.” However, some important context is in order: “It’s not as bad as it seems. … Rules and regulations cannot be revoked, only replaced by new ones under the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act’s public notice-and-comment process. … So, for Trump to get rid of a rule … his agencies have to write a rule. So in a perverse sense, he can’t shrink the Federal Register page count and the number of rules, but has managed to do it anyway by writing fewer new regulatory rather than deregulatory ones. Meeting the two for one [deregulation] directive is getting tougher without congressional action as the low-hanging fruit is picked.”
As far as actual rules are concerned, Crews says, “Under Trump, there has also been a substantial reduction in the number of rules and regulations published within all those Federal Register pages. The Federal Register closed out 2018 with 3,367 final rules in all. The only lower count was 3,281 under Trump a year ago, which was the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s. … Obama’s own lowest count was 3,410, not much more than Trump’s new score. But fewer of Obama’s rules would be expected to have been devoted to rollbacks of prior initiatives, the emphasis of Trump’s ‘one-in, two-out’ executive order.”
The Washington Examiner reports on another important consideration: “In what Crews has dubbed the ‘Unconstitutionality Index,’ Trump has also slashed the percentage of new rules to new laws passed by Congress and signed by Trump, he wrote in a second report issued Monday. Trump’s 2018 index was 12: 3,367 new rules compared to 291 new laws. The Index reached 29 under Obama.”
The bottom line? Trump is swimming upstream, yet he continues to do excellent and historic deregulatory work.
On a related note, December’s job report was exhilarating. An eye-popping 312,000 jobs were added. This was an astonishing 136,000 higher than economists’ expectations. According to CNBC, “Wages jumped 3.2 percent from a year ago and 0.4 percent over the previous month.”
And while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%, that’s actually good news, as more people are entering the job market. Moreover, CNSNews reports, “The number of employed Americans has now set a 14th record under Trump: When Trump became president in January 2017, 152,076,000 Americans were employed. Last month, that number grew to a record 156,945,000, a gain of 4,869,000 in two years.”
CNSNews adds, “In December, the unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos, aged 16 and up, was 4.4%, down from 4.5% in November — tying its record low of 4.4% set in October of this year.” NBC News called the jobs report “whopping,” while the Associated Press described it as “stellar.” Those words provide as good a clue as any of the magnificence of this report, and it’s in large measure thanks to Trump’s agenda of getting the government out of the way.