A ‘big one’: Trump signs red-tape reduction executive order

The Hill reports:

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order that would require agencies to revoke two regulations for every new rule they want to issue.

The executive order is aimed at dramatically rolling back federal regulations, one of his top campaign promises. …

Trump on Monday said he wasn’t done targeting regulations, reiterating his campaign promise to try and cut 75 percent of rules.

Here is the text of the order. Worth highlighting is that the order would have at least two existing regulations repealed for each new regulation proposed, and it would use incremental cost of the proposed new regulation as the standard by which to help identify existing regulations to be repealed — their existing costs must at least equal if not exceed the incremental cost of the new proposed regulation.

I discussed this reform for Carolina Journal when it was still an election promise. It is, after all, a reform the John Locke Foundation has promoted for several years:

For example, our Agenda 2016 section on regulatory reform states:

Regulatory reciprocity would reduce the total regulatory burden over time by making agencies “trade in” a number of old rules for each new rule. It would also introduce opportunity cost to agency rulemaking, as agencies would have to consider their own trade-offs to creating a new rule.

Why is red tape reduction so important? Because regulations are costly. In just a single year, federal regulations cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion from lost economic productivity and higher prices.

Voluntarily Shedding the Executive Branch of Ill-Gotten Power

The order and the goal of reducing regulation by 75 percent are remarkable in another sense, too. It represents a chief executive voluntarily shedding power.

Congress could help get to the 75 percent goal by implementing the Congressional Review Act against mountains of Obama administration regulations for which —owing to laziness, hubris, arrogance, or some combination — required rule reports to Congress went unfiled.

More analysis: Bloomberg‘s Cass R. Sunstein discusses potential practical difficulties with the idea but also the pragmatic necessity of it. He also reminds readers that this idea is not new and is already being tried in the U.K. and now Canada.

Carolina Journal readers may recall that a policy of trading in old regulations for each new one has had long-term success in British Columbia, which is why it was recently adopted in Canada.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...