Reining in the Regulatory State

Douglas Holtz-Eakin

One of the most remarkable accomplishments of the Trump Administration has been the U-turn it executed on the regulatory front. Recall that over the 8 years of the Obama Administration, it finalized a costly regulation ($100 million or more in burdens on the private sector) at an average rate of 1.1 per day, for a total cost to the private sector of over $890 billion. The avalanche of regulatory costs was different in scale, but not character, from previous administrations: the regulatory state only ever expanded.

Enter the Trump Administration which, by executive order, imposed regulatory budgets on the agencies. If the rules finalized by the agency imposed costs greater than the allotted budget, the agency had to find offsetting reductions by eliminating other regulations. This approach was popularized as the “one in, two out” approach to regulations. How did it work out? From his inauguration to the end of fiscal 2017, the total burden rose by only $5 billion — a far cry of the $1000+ billion annual burdens for the 8 years prior. Fiscal 2018 was even more dramatic, with the regulatory burden actually falling by $6 billion.

Click here to read this American Action Forum article by Douglas Holtz-Eakin.