On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that gives his cabinet “tremendous power to cut regulation.” The order gives America’s flailing economy, still half-shuttered by the coronavirus crisis and government lockdowns, important relief as the effort to reopen picks up steam in different states.
Trump signed the order in a cabinet meeting. Before he signed the order, he explained that it involves “instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to waive, suspend, and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.”
He signed it around the 20-minute mark in this video.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 19, 2020
The president’s move on deregulation enables his administration to cut red tape and unleash the economy amid the reopening. It follows a great deal of advice from conservative think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Heritage Foundation.
“The Competitive Enterprise Institute applauds President Trump’s new executive order directing agency heads to take immediate and expedited steps to eliminate or suspend regulations impeding recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. CEI has identified dozens of regulations that were never needed and now hinder response to, and recovery from, this pandemic. Widespread repeal is necessary and on the way,” CEI President Kent Lassman said in a statement.
“The work of recovery and a resurgent economy begins now and won’t end until we have refashioned the relationship between Americans and an overbearing regulatory state,” he added.
“Too many federal rules were never needed and are especially problematic now, because they aggravate the health and economic crisis,” CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews explained. “The Trump administration is right to heed calls to do its part unilaterally to cut red tape. Next, Congress should do its part to permanently eliminate rules that inflict all-pain with little gain.”
CEI released a set of #NeverNeeded regulations, including too stringent vaccine approvals at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), attacks on independent contractors such as California’s A.B. 5, loosening restrictions that hamper right-to-try policies.
Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation and chairman of the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, praised Trump’s executive order, saying it “rightly prioritizes the American people over bureaucracy.”
“The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission has recommended reducing regulatory burdens on Americans to save both lives and livelihoods. I’m thankful the White House is implementing the commission’s recommendations for a review of all regulations that inhibit economic growth,” James added. “Freeing our economy from unnecessary government regulation will play a critical role in speeding up our nation’s recovery from COVID-19.”
While Trump’s executive order is welcome, it remains to be seen just how many regulations the members of his cabinet discard in order to encourage an economic recovery. The president has shown some good understanding of the damage some government regulations have wreaked upon Americans — in a speech last year he lamented the declining quality of showers, dishwashers, and toilets, thanks in large part to federal regulations.
Trump has ordered his administration to cut two regulations for every new regulation, but the bureaucratic state is so vast that only something like the REINS Act would curtail its abuses for long. Trump will not be president forever, and the administrative state needs to be held accountable to the will of the American people.
As the economy reopens amid the coronavirus crisis, businesses will be closing their doors forever and entrepreneurs will need to form new businesses to meet the rising demand for a host of goods and services — haircuts prime among them. Americans who have been cooped up for months are itching to get out of the house. Those who lost jobs will be on the lookout for new ones.
If the members of the president’s cabinet cut red tape to streamline the process for entrepreneurs to create new businesses and hire new employees, that will go a long way to spurring on the economic recovery. Democrats and fans of the bureaucratic state will complain, but after the lockdowns devastated American businesses, entrepreneurs and the unemployed need help to get back into the swing of things. Deregulation is a far better answer than direct payments or increased government programs.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.