April 18 2017
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is making an aggressive effort to cut wasteful regulations and processes – and it’s doing so voluntarily.
In January, President Trumped ordered that two regulations should be eliminated for every new one created. Last month, he directed all federal agencies submit plans to eliminate duplicative programs and jobs and eliminate waste within six months. However, the FTC – because it’s an independent agency like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – was not subject that that directive. The acting chairman, Maureen Ohlhausen, however, welcomed the challenge.
In a statement she noted:
“I welcomed the President’s directive, and we’re already working hard to achieve it. The FTC will continue to pursue the right answer for consumers, but we will work hard to get there as efficiently as we can. We are focusing our resources where they will do the most good for the public and eliminating wasteful, legacy regulations and processes that have outlived their usefulness. American taxpayers deserve and expect nothing less from us,” Ohlhausen stated.
These initiatives are only the first steps, according to Acting Chairman Ohlhausen, “improving efficiency and productivity never stops in the private sector, government should operate no differently. I intend to keep focused on this issue, working collaboratively with career staff and agency leadership to identify and implement further streamlining and process improvements.”
The agency has detailed about six areas as part of an initiative that includes closing older investigations, streamlining the information-collection process for investigations, incorporating economic knowledge earlier in investigations for better decision-making, looking at ways to improve processes, and establishing a new capability for knowledge-sharing across the agency.
The FTC is an important agency that is charged with both consumer protection and corporate competition. Established to “bust the trusts” and prevent unfairness in the market, the agency has expanded to administer consumer protection laws.
As with many federal agencies though, it’s time to assess how business gets done. This effort is earning praise on Capitol Hill. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, commented:
"Today's announcement is just the first step to strengthening FTC’s consumer protection and providing greater certainty for businesses, fostering an environment that gives way to more innovation, and improving transparency for consumers. I commend Acting Chairwoman Ohlhausen, as she has wasted no time in implementing important reforms that that the committee has long championed."
The idea that Washington would come up with ways to make itself more efficient and to eliminate waste, is an aim that almost all presidents in recent memory have tried to accomplish but to little or no avail. Instead, we’ve watched government’s scope and spending expand precipitously over the past few decades.
Here’s to a new wind blowing in Washington. We have new leaders across agencies willing to take seriously the idea that government should work right or get out of the way.