August 7, 2018


There's Little Confusion About Trump's Regulatory Record (Cass R. Sunstein, August 6, 2018, 1Bloomberg)

In late 2008 and early 2009, I worked on Barack Obama's transition team, scrutinizing President George Bush's regulations to see what we might want to abandon. We were surprised to find that we were pretty comfortable with much of what Bush had done. Even when we didn't love it, we often concluded that it wasn't worth the time and effort to change it.

There has been a lot of noise since January 2017 about how Trump is obliterating Obama's regulatory legacy. That view is false. Most areas show continuity.  [...]

[T]he system has important safeguards against excessively abrupt changes. Regulators listen carefully to the private sector, and when companies value stability, they are not shy about saying so. 

Would-be deregulators are sometimes amazed to learn that companies have adjusted to the rules of the road, even if they opposed them vociferously in the first place. And officials are unlikely to work on behalf of deregulation when companies don't want it.

Sure, companies often want to remove regulations that have not yet gone into effect. Trump's proposed weakening of the fuel-economy standards is a case in point (though automobile companies are divided). 

But even if you don't like the Trump proposal (and you really shouldn't), it's noteworthy that his regulators did nothing to affect the Obama administration's fuel-economy standards through 2020. And before the president's proposed freeze can go into effect, he will have to deal with a host of objections, and undoubtedly a serious legal challenge. 

The overall picture shows a lot more regulatory continuity than people think, even across administrations with dramatically different views.

Posted by at August 7, 2018 4:12 AM