The Trump administration and state and local governments have suspended so many regulations in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis that Americans for Tax Reform is constantly updating its list of waived regulations.
The list had reached 570 this morning. The list is by no means complete, as ATR asks the public to let them know if there are suspended regulations they have missed. President Trump wants to make many of these suspensions permanent and has issued an Executive Order that intends to accomplish that.
Spoiler Alert: You won’t miss any of these regulations.
If there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has shown, it’s that regulation gets in the way.
The regulations were suspended for an obvious reason: they made it hard, if not impossible, to respond to the virus in a timely manner. If you read ATR’s list, you’ll wonder at the logic of many of these regulations, which, at any rate, are unsustainable in the current crisis.
Each of these rules formerly made it more difficult to conduct one’s business or personal affairs, and each made it more difficult to respond, or merely live, in a pandemic. It’s both sad and telling that it took a unique global health crisis for policymakers to decide that they were not worth the costs they imposed.
One reason why is that the costs of regulation are not always obvious. The nature of rulemaking is to impose hidden costs, especially when, at the federal level, the writing of regulations is largely delegated to executive branch agencies not subject to the same budgetary processes and pressures that govern Congress.
According to The Ten Thousand Commandments, which comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the cost of federal regulation is around $1.9 trillion a year. The estimated cost of federal regulation to a household is $14,000 a year.
Congress typically passes big bills and leaves the writing to of the regulations to agencies (i.e., the permanent administrative state). CEI urges Congress to write the regulations themselves. That way somebody other than invisible bureaucrats will be accountable.
Will we miss the regulations that have been rolled back? No, but we can bet that putting them back into place an creating more of them will be an underlying issue in the presidential campaign.
Read Suderman’s entire article.