Good article on WSJ on the challenges the new President may find in taming government regulations.

An excerpt:

Mr. Trump’s order could provide a powerful prod to agencies to look for old, costly rules since, if they can’t find any, they may be unable to issue new rules. Even so, laws and courts can still demand that rules be written. Mr. Trump wants to repeal Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan. He would still be faced with a 2007 Supreme Court decision that the Environmental Protection Agency regulate carbon-dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.

There are more effective albeit less sexy ways to improve regulation: standardize the measure of both costs and benefits, force both Congress and federal agencies to submit laws and major new rules to independent cost-benefit analysis, then mandate a reassessment of the results several years later. 

Yet the regulatory burden will likely keep growing so long as the priorities of Congress and the president require it. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Bush created an entire new federal department with thousands of new employees to counter terrorism. Mr. Obama’s health care and financial regulation laws required agencies to issue thousands of rules regardless of their costs and benefits.

Mr. Trump may not be not immune. He enacted a temporary ban on visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries over concerns that terrorists might enter the U.S. The president also suspended the U.S. refugee program for four months and reduced the number of refugees the U.S. will accept in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000. How would this perform on a cost-benefit test?

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Posted by Carlos Alvarenga

Carlos A. Alvarenga is the Executive Director of World 50 Labs and Adjunct Professor in the Logistics, Business and Public Policy Department at the University of Maryland’s Robert E. Smith School of Business.

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