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U.S. National Debt:

Clearing Out The Mess Of Overregulation

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

In a Presidential Executive Order issued February 24, 2017, President Trump called for an extensive review of existing federal regulations to determine whether they should be eliminated.  This step to clear out regulations saddling Americans with unnecessary restrictions, paperwork and financial burden is a needed and sensible undertaking to help invigorate American investment and ingenuity.   

The order establishes task forces in every government agency charged with reducing regulation and limiting the growth of government.  It directs the task forces to weed out regulations that negatively impact job-creation; are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; and rely on information not publicly-available.  This, along with the plan President Trump is implementing to eliminate two old regulations for every one new regulation, can help make government more efficient and responsive to the people it serves.  The new Congress has also been working quickly to enact legislation to stop overly-aggressive regulations that were finalized between June 13, 2016 and January 19, 2017.

We must take a hard look at regulations and get rid of those that are federal power grabs and drown American ingenuity in paperwork and inefficiency.  The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reports that, “The Code of Federal Regulations, in which all current executive branch regulations are compiled, now exceeds 178,000 pages.  The print edition consists of 237 volumes and features a 1,170-page index.”  Further, CEI compiled the following estimates demonstrating the high cost inflicted by regulations annually:

  • “An Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimate of $68-$103 billion in annual costs for some “major” rules—those with at least $100 million in estimated annual costs;
  • A $2.028 trillion annual estimate from the National Association of Manufacturers; and
  • A study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates the economy ‘weighs’ around $4 trillion less annually than it otherwise would, had regulatory burdens remained constant since 1980.”

CEI found “economy-wide regulatory costs of $1.885 trillion for 2015.”

I have been a longtime advocate for the elimination of excessive federal regulations.  This includes early efforts to block the precursor to the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule,” which exerts federal control over nearly every stream, ditch, pond and puddle on state and local lands, as well as private property.  Another of President Trump’s recent Executive Orders specifically aimed at undoing the unjust WOTUS rule is a welcome step in the effort to stop this federal power grab that infringes on private property rights, undermines state sovereignty and threatens the economy.  The explosive expansion of government intrusion into our economy, our privacy and many other aspects of our lives must be stopped and corrected.  American innovation and job creation must have every opportunity to succeed. 

Pushing back against excessive federal control is an unending responsibility.  We must continue to work to clean up outdated, over-regulation and stop federal control from creeping into more aspects of our lives.  The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Majority reported that the committee “warned about ‘the growth of unnecessary, conflicting, and duplicative regulations’ and noted that overregulation had been a contributing factor in the inflation crisis that had gripped the nation” in a 1979 report.  As the committee noted, “the debate about the proper role of regulation in American society” continues decades later.  An Administration leading the effort of clearing out the mess of federal overregulation is a welcome partner in this ongoing effort.   


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