Grunkle Donny’s Bargain Emporium: An Early Analysis of the “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” Executive Order

Can you just tell us what this thing says?

The majority of the provision can be summarized with one pullquote, taken from Section 1: “[I]t is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.” Nope, not a joke. We’re literally applying the same technique we use to clean our closets to federal regulation of government agencies.

(a) regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States;
(b) regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel; or
(c) any other category of regulations exempted by the Director.

So just like everything else, if Grunkle Donny likes you, you’ll probably be fine.

Okay… why did he do this?

So that he can cut taxes, presumably, without creating a giant deficit. Also so that he could maintain the illusion of being tough on big government. Of course, as several news articles note, this whole thing is pretty toothless (their word, not mine) because it doesn’t cover independent agencies that were created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. So it’s… a symbolic middle finger, I guess? It manages to be rude and stressful without actually doing much of anything useful, at any rate.

But would this theoretically actually work to lower our deficit?

I guess technically it wouldn’t raise it? But this provision specifically exempts a lot of expensive government programs, such as the military and Our Fuhrer’s asinine wall and anything, y’know, required by law to stay in place. So it’s sort of like sticking a carbon-emitting band-aid on a gaping economic flesh wound. (All right, I can own it; that metaphor got away from me.) At the end of the day, this regulation appears to be much like our President himself: Full of sound and fury, and terrible at saving money.

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Kara Hurvitz

Kara Hurvitz

Boots on the ground for social change, one step at a time.