Could President Trump end up being known to history as The Great Deregulator? It’s possible. Excerpt:
Few things have mattered more to libertarian policy activists over the past half-century than deregulation. Rolling back government restrictions on individual and corporate behavior, breaking up state-backed cartels, getting bureaucrats out of the price-setting business, and allowing private entities to compete for services routinely monopolized by government—these have long been fundamental goals of libertarian organizations including Reason Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that publishes this magazine and engages in public policy research that promotes choice and competition. The reasons for eliminating federal regulations can be many: Well-intended rules frequently result in harmful unintended consequences, time and money directed to compliance or workarounds could often be better spent elsewhere, and one-size-fits-all decrees from Washington rarely incorporate the kind of local knowledge that individuals and companies possess about how their own business works best. Libertarians have made these arguments early and often to every new president, but since the deregulatory salad days of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, few administrations have applied these insights into their policy making.
But as the initial shock of the 2016 election results gave way to the normal D.C. stuff of transition teams, Cabinet nominees, and policy rollouts, the city’s libertarian policy wonks began to rub their eyes and adjust to a surprising new vision: a Trump administration that was stocking up on faces who have long worked to expand freedom by contracting the regulatory state.
“I don’t think that we ever envisioned that we would be supplying staffers to this semi-free market, semi-populist president,” Frayda Levin, board chair of Americans for Prosperity and a Reason Foundation donor, told Politico in December. “But we’re happy that he’s picking people who have that free market background, particularly because on many issues, he is a blank slate, so anybody with expertise is in an amazing position to shape his agenda.”
I voted for Trump, like many other libertarians, mostly for one reason: Supreme Court picks. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch validated that decision, and it’s likely he’ll get to appoint at least one more justice, leading to a right-leaning Court for quite a while to come. But any deregulation that the Trump Administration comes up with is icing on the cake.
Fans of Imperial regulation of, well, almost everything, have been shitting their pants at almost every Trump tweet and off-the-cuff comment since he was inaugurated, and it’s been a thing to see.
Full disclosure: My consulting business predominantly helps companies deal with their Imperial regulatory burden – and, yes, the irony of that is not lost on me. So I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the regulatory burden costs companies. (I’ve been in the industry damn near 30 years; I don’t come cheap.) If President Trump can eliminate, say, 25% of the regulatory burden on businesses, watch for an economic explosion.
And if that happens, watch for President Trump to cruise to re-election in 2020.