Trump administration added nearly $ 15 billion in government red tape last year (report)
President Trump has long been cutting regulations a signature talking point. In 2017, he even hosted a White House event where he cut literal paperwork in front of the cameras.
Earlier this year he boasted of his administration had “put an end to this regulatory assault on the American worker.”
The outgoing administration has indeed been the most aggressive in recent memory to reduce regulation. But in a display of Washington’s insatiable appetite for new rules and the temptation to use those rules to bypass the congressional deadlock, the cost of regulations actually increased in three of the four years Trump was in office. in power, according to new data from a center-right think tank.
The American Action Forum reports that new regulations costing $ 14.7 billion were added in 2020 alone. Another way to measure it: 290 million “hours of paperwork” were added to the work lists of government and private sector workers last year.
The data was compiled by collating each relevant government agency’s own estimate of the impact of a given regulation. “What they mainly calculate is the estimate of the economic impact on the private sector,” says Dan Bosch, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum and one of the authors of the report.
“So most of the costs, but I can’t say everything, would have to be borne by the private sector,” Bosch says.
From 2017 to 2020, the data shows, Washington finalized 1,336 regulations across a range of government agencies at a total cost of $ 64.7 billion and nearly 330 million hours of paperwork.
“An expensive rule”
Bosch points to three areas where he has seen a noticeable increase in regulation under the Trump administration.
Immigration has been on the rise as Trump and his aides have used new rules to make it harder for immigrants to enter and stay in the United States. A second area that has seen an increase in regulations is national security and defense contracts.
Health care is the third area of increase. Bosch notes that the new regulations on transparency and coverage of hospital procedures were “an expensive rule” that have cost nearly $ 34 billion to comply with. Last year Trump said the changes were a “major victory in our mission to provide excellent health care at an affordable price”.
Meanwhile, the cost of energy and environmental regulations has fallen by $ 189.3 billion over the past four years. The Brooking Institution recently counted 74 deregulation actions the Trump administration has taken to weakening environmental protections.
Speaking on Yahoo Finance on Wednesday about another industry, Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading, noted that “the scale and scope of the administration’s deregulation actions Trump were actually far below what we thought the next morning of Trump. Won. “
“The Biden administration is going to appoint people who will reverse some of the Trump administration’s bank deregulation activities, but not all,” Boltansky said.
‘A big deviation from what is normal‘
Bosch and his colleagues at the American Action Forum, including co-author Dan Goldbeck, have followed the ups and downs of regulations dating back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president.
There have been many more ups than downs: “2018 is the only year we have in our chart that has shown [regulatory costs] get off, ”Bosch says. That year, the cost of settlements tear down of $ 7.8 billion, according to group data.
Under the Obama administration, cost of regulation increased by an average of $ 100 billion a year – more in a single year than the sum total of increases over Trump’s four years.
“Compared to what we have seen under the Obama administration and even under the Bush administration, this is a big deviation from what is normal,” Bosch said.
A recent report on the Trump administration of the curator CATO Institute had similar conclusions. The “flow of new regulations was much lower than under the previous two administrations,” the CATO authors wrote, but added that the backtracking promised by Trump had come slowly.
Bosch expects regulatory costs to increase dramatically in 2021 with the Biden administration. Even with a strong performance from the Democrats on Tuesday in Georgia, the Biden administration facing a moderate Congress this is likely to cast a skeptical eye on some of the president-elect’s biggest campaign promises.
If history is any guide, Biden will almost surely look to new regulations to implement some of his promises in the face of the congressional deadlock, just as Trump has done in recent years.
Bosch says the steps the Trump administration is taking to slow regulatory increases “is going to be a four-year window that’s going to be kind of an anomaly unless, later, we have a like-minded president.”
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.