But what about Trump’s rollback of the regulatory state? Doesn’t that count? It would have if Trump had built on his record in the first half of his term when he was cutting two existing federal regulations for every new one. This resulted in some genuine rollbacks. But according to the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, two of whose staffers actually served on Trump’s transition team, Trump has since reversed course. Its 2020 annual compendium of regulations, Ten Thousand Commandments, lamented: “Trump cuts, but Trump also adds.”
The report based its conclusion on “Trump’s proclivity to trade restrictions” and his “ad hoc zeal” for antitrust action against Big Tech. On the trade front, “the tariff man,” as Trump proudly refers to himself, has demanded that America’s trading partners pledge reciprocity in purchasing American goods as part of any trade agreement. That severely crimps the scope of these deals. Worse, in his MAGA (Make America Great Again) zeal, he issued twin executive orders last year mandating the use of American products in federal contracting and infrastructure — apparently unperturbed that the resulting cost hikes in government projects are essentially a tax on Americans.
Meanwhile, using antitrust laws to challenge the alleged monopoly power of giant corporations was the province of Democrats. But thanks to Trump’s personal animus toward Big Tech, CEI notes, he has “casually invoked antitrust action” against tech and telecom companies such as Amazon (whose founder publishes The Washington Post), Google, Time Warner, Facebook, and others.