The economy is booming. Consumer confidence hits new highs, as does business confidence. The nation added nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs last month. African-American unemployment reaches the lowest point ever recorded.
Under President Obama, we were told 1-2 percent economic growth was the new normal – get used to it.
But in the first 11 months of the Trump administration, GDP growth topped 3 percent and may even hit 4 percent.
What changed? The occupant of the Oval Office.
President Trump took a machete to the tangle of regulations that was strangling business like kudzu.
Most of the attention has gone to the rollback of major Obama-era initiatives, such as the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S. and the Paris Climate Accord. The president approved permits for the Dakota and Keystone pipelines.
But President Trump also launched a full-spectrum attack on the regulatory state. His executive order required agencies to scrap two regs for each new one issued. But he exceeded even his own goals, achieving a 22-to-1 reduction.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute found the Federal Register, the bureaucracy’s bible of government rules, has shrunk by a third under President Trump. It took President Reagan years to reach that benchmark.
To understand the impact of deregulation on business activity, consider the American Action Forum tallied $560 million in savings from regulatory cuts in just the first eight months of the Trump administration.
Businesses held their breath – and their cash – in anticipation of another costly regulatory assault from Obama bureaucrats. Now they can finally exhale, and that’s breathing new life into the economy.
But more needs to be done for Americans to realize the full promise of the Trump administration’s regulatory rollback.
It’s time for Congress to fix the federal rule-making system.
We need to change the laws governing how regulations are promulgated – statutory reform of the regulatory process – so the next occupant of the Oval Office doesn’t just revert to the bad old ways.
That alone will give businesses the long-term certainty they need to make big-ticket investments, rather than holding their breath.
Modernization of the process is long overdue. Our current regulatory regime was designed for the industrial economy of the 1940s and ’50s not the digital on-demand economy of today.
Consider that the basic operating system of our economy – roads, ports, pipelines, power grids and waterworks – was constructed before the proliferation of regulations, studies and permits mandated at the state and federal level.
FDR could put Americans to work building dams, digging canals and planting forests with the stroke of his pen. Today, he would have to punch through a bureaucratic mountain before the first shovelful of dirt could be turned.
President Trump wants to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding America’s infrastructure. This will require reforming the rule-making process as well as raising money.
No one understands this better than the men and women who build the projects we rely on to get to work, heat our homes and power our communities.
Organized labor and major corporations are often on opposing sides, but no more.
The North American Building Trades and the National Association of Manufacturers have joined forces in the Coalition for Regulatory Innovation to forge bipartisan reform of the federal rule-making process.
Sean McGarvey of the North American Building Trades and Jay Timmons of NAM want to “help ensure that an administration of either party does not abuse its regulatory authority by introducing too many new rules or gutting necessary protections. This should be welcome news to Republicans and Democrats alike who fear that regulations will be drastically altered each time a new party wins the White House.”
Labor unions have traditionally been aligned with the Democratic Party. Now they are ready to work with President Trump (and anyone else!) to do whatever it takes to rebuild our infrastructure.
The message is clear: We are one nation with one goal.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to heed that message and get on board.