Although it hasn’t received much publicity, President Donald Trump’s executive order on reducing regulations issued Monday requires federal agencies to abolish at least two old regulations for every new one they adopt.
In addition, the cost of the new regulation and repealing the old ones is required to be zero. However, if the two regulations being eliminated have a cost, the new regulation can cost that much. In addition, agencies might be able to get an exemption for an emergency.
Every new regulation also has to be approved by the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
On Trump's executive orders, one commentator said it was like Steve Bannon, Trump’s alt right top advisor who was executive chair of the far right Breitbart News, wrote the immigration executive order on the back of an envelope.
This executive regulation on reducing regulations seems worse than Bannon jotting down ideas on an envelope. It’s downright silly.
Regulations are important for protecting consumers and the environment. If you don’t have government regulations, then corporations can do what they want in the marketplace. When regulations are cut or are absent, consumers suffer.
An example is the collapse of housing market in 2007, which led to the Great Recession. The George W. Bush Administration did nothing to stop predatory lending, although it was widely known that banks were hiring anyone they could find to write mortgages in the subprime market for consumers who had little hope of paying them back.
Even with new laws passed after the Great Recession to strengthen consumer protection laws, corporations have continued to employ fraudulent practices. Here are some of the fines issued by the federal government that I’ve written about recently:
- Volkswagen agrees to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $2.8 billion for cheating on emissions tests.
I could go on and on listing articles I’ve written about corporate fraud.
And, there’s the environment. Trump has said he wants to cut government regulations 75 percent or more.
We’ve all seen the photos thick pollution in China. Is that what will happen when the Trump Administration cuts regulations 75 percent or more? People get sick and some die due to air pollution.
Long-run exposure to pollution, especially particulates, has dramatic consequences for life expectancy, according to the article “Innovative Study Estimates Extent to Which Air Pollution in China Shortens Human Lives.”
In an analysis of the two for one ruling, the Consumerist said it would likely slow down the regulatory process.
Consumer advocates also are critical of this simplistic idea for reducing government regulations.
Robert Weissman of Public Citizen said it will gut a wide array of rules to protect finances, food, and the environment, while Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the executive order springs from a cartoonish and unsophisticated view of the regulations that keep the air clean, the water drinkable, the food safe, and planes from crashing, and it ignores the benefits of those rules.
Republicans widely proclaim that they want to cut the size of government. Instead, the goal should be to work for effective government. Will the Internal Revenue Service work better if its staff is cut more? No. Then there's the Veterans Administration, which has been having problems for decades. Cutting its budget, staff, and regulations isn't going to help it either.