Home / Blog / Article


June 9 2017

Steve Forbes: Keep Deregulating, Mr. President

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

With all the media focus on Russian investigations, tax reform, attempts to repeal and replace ObamaCare and President's Trump bold budget, it would be easy to overlook the impressive progress being made on the unglamorous but crucial area of liberating the U.S. economy from suffocating regulations – another form of taxation.

--Steve Forbes

As a divergence from today's Comeymania, I am suggesting as our Friday must-read Steve Forbes' excellent article on deregulation. Deregulation seems to be proceeding somewhat under the radar.  Forbes quotes an astonishing figure on what regulations, which proliferated daily under the Obama administration, cost the American people every year:  $2 trillion.

Forbes is not arguing against sensible and needed regulations but against the kinds of regulations we saw imposed in the previous eight years. The economy is being unshackled under the Trump administration:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), for instance, is in the process of throwing out Obama administration rules that shackled the Internet with 1934-like regulations designed for rotary dial telephones. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Interior Department are liberating the energy industry from mandates designed to cripple the development of fossil fuels. The Food and Drug Administration is beginning to examine ways to bring the approval of new drugs and new uses of existing drugs into the 21st century, which would save lives and money.

Forbes proposes we change the way we think about regulations:

To help this nascent but crucial process of unshackling the U.S. economy, reformers should dust off a concept that first emerged in, of all places, the Clinton administration but then promptly fell into the proverbial black hole. The basic idea is that regulators should embrace outcomes, not prescriptions, when writing rules. In other words, state the goals and let industries figure out the best ways to achieve them instead of bureaucrats dictating precisely how things are to be done. This would encourage innovation and avoid the constant problems of regulators always being behind the curve when it comes to newer and better practices.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., recently asked the right question in a hearing on improving our infrastructure: “Can performance-based regulations be more effective than command-and-control regulations in achieving safety goals while imposing less of a burden on industry?”

The answer, of course, is yes and there is now a bill before Congress that would codify this common sense approach, The Revamping American Infrastructure Act of 2017. The proposed legislation would call on federal bureaucrats to “identify those regulations, guidance and policies that in current form establish prescriptive requirements for regulated entities; and are able to be replaced, consistent with Federal law, with outcome-based performance standards.”

Many regulations do little or nothing to achieve stated goals (Forbes includes interesting examples.)

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
Follow us