The new Trump administration will operate on a specific budget for new regulations, according to the executive order signed by Donald Trump this morning — and for 2017, the budget will be $0. The EO instructs federal agencies to eliminate two rules for every one they wish to add over the next four years, and Trump wants a focus on eliminating regulations that amount to rent-seeking for larger companies:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 30, 2017
“We want to end the unfairness between small and big business that’s caused by regulation,” Trump said before a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Monday.
“Small business can’t hire the kind of talent that big businesses can hire,” Trump added, noting that small businesses have struggled to comply with burdensome regulations that big businesses are better-equipped to handle.
There will be exceptions made for emergencies and national security, the AP’s Julie Pace reports, but otherwise they want to stick to this plan. The Trump administration wants to execute a large-scale rollback of federal regulations in order to fulfill a key campaign pledge.
Aiming particularly at rent-seeking behavior is a very encouraging start, but we will need to see how far it goes — and whether it’s followed by similar reforms in tax law and other statutes. The biggest platform for rent-seeking behavior is the tax code, mostly in the corporate arena but also in the individual tax code for small-business owners. Congress will have to act to eliminate all of the carve-outs they have provided for their allies in order for Trump’s attack on influence and corruption to have a permanent impact. As we have seen over the last eight years and especially over the past week, the regulatory establishment can be easily manipulated from the top, but statutes stick.
By the way, for those who are wondering about overuse of EOs, this does fall within the authority of the president. Congress appropriates funds for agencies, but they are not required to spend it all, nor (outside of earmarks) are they bound to use them for increasing regulation. As long as the EO does not conflict with existing statute or cause federal agencies to exceed their jurisdiction, it’s legit — and another example of why elections matter.