Strangling the Administrative State

Comments Off on Strangling the Administrative State
Strangling the Administrative State

As previously documented in Trends, U.S. regulatory compliance costs totaled roughly $2 trillion annually as of year-end 2016.   That’s over 10% of GDP.

A major objective of the current administration is to dramatically reduce the number of regulations and the growth-killing implications of compliance.  But in a world where entrenched interests benefit from those regulations, this is easier said than done.

Fortunately, the first two years of this effort is bearing fruit, and the benefits will continue to accrue for many years into the future.

In this issue, we’ll examine the strategies and tactics the administration is using to work around the political and legal constraints it faces.  Regulation is a discipline involving all three branches of government, with a critical role played by unelected “career bureaucrats” in the Executive branch.  Congress enacts enabling legislation with the approval of the President.  Executive branch departments headed by political appointees and run by career staff issue rules consistent with that legislation.   And the Judiciary determines whether those rules, as implemented, are legally valid under the Constitution.  Over the long run, no part of the government can act alone; but, in the short-run, departmental staff can shape events, pending intervention by the other players.

When it came to office in January 2017, the administration had slim majorities in Congress and faced a hostile bureaucracy, as well as Federal courts slightly skewed to the left.  Despite resistance in the narrowly divided Senate, the administration proceeded to get a record number of judges confirmed to the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts and District Courts.  This on-going process is rapidly shifting the court in a direction favorable to reducing regulatory burdens.

Despite stonewalling by Senate Democrats, cabinet-level appointees were confirmed and immediately set out to cut regulations, in spite of resistance from career bureaucrats.  In 2017, the administration worked with leadership in both the House and Senate to dismantle several major regulatory programs from the Obama era using the Congressional Review Act...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund