News & Politics

Trump to Business Leaders: 'I'll Cut Regs by 75% or More'

First day of the Trump administration’s first workweek is off to a good start:

President Donald Trump told business leaders on Monday he believes he can cut regulations by 75 percent or “maybe more.” At the White House with 10 senior executives, he repeated his campaign pledges to roll back corporate rules, arguing that they have “gotten out of control.” A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate on which rules Trump will target or how the 75 percent was calculated.

“We’re going to be cutting regulation massively,” but the rules will be “just as protective of the people,” Trump told reporters at the meeting that included Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.

Democrats and interest groups have expressed concern about Trump’s plans to roll back Obama administration environmental protections and pull out of the landmark Paris climate accords, among other regulatory pledges.

Gee, that’s too damn bad. But the time is long overdue to put the “regulatory” agencies back in their boxes. These excrescences have long since finished with whatever task they were created to accomplish, which was mostly to raise public awareness about the environment. But they were never intended to cripple the economy, discourage innovation, choke entrepreneurship and otherwise function as mock-Soviet bureaus designed to harm rather than help.

In the wide-ranging statement Monday, Trump also reiterated campaign promises to cut taxes for businesses, saying he aims to get the business rate “down to anywhere from 15 to 20 percent” from the current 35 percent. He also said he wants to reward companies that manufacture in the U.S. and impose border taxes on products that American companies make abroad.

As he did on the campaign trail, Trump said his plans to push American manufacturing and renegotiate trade deals do not mean that he wants to abandon free trade. His statements came ahead of an expected executive order to start the process of revising the North American Free Trade Agreement and pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“What we want to do is bring manufacturing back to our country,” Trump said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t trade because we do trade. We want to make our products here.” After the meeting, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said the executives will come back in 30 days with suggested actions to boost American manufacturing.

Trump also touted his push to “massively” cut taxes for the middle class. Some independent analyses have concluded that Trump’s across-the-board tax cut proposals will balloon the national debt by trillions, but his administration has argued that economic growth will cancel out the effect.

Getting their attention is a good thing. Getting them to come back with a plan is an even better thing. Ignore the leftist whining that It Can’t Be Done and What Are the Details of Your Plan. It’s not the president’s job to articulate 19-point plans. It’s his job to set broad policy, military and economic goals and then let others work out the specifics, subject to his approval. Ignore the bleats of the “some who say,” and get on with it. That’s what executives do, and that’s whom we just installed in the Oval Office on Friday.