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COMMENTARY: Trump deregulation efforts saving billions

Since President Donald Trump took office, farmers can more productively use their land. Small businesses can hire more workers and provide more affordable health care. Innovators are freer to pursue advances in autonomous vehicles, drones and commercial space exploration. Veterans enjoy expanded access to doctors through a telehealth program. And infrastructure can be improved more quickly with streamlined permitting.

The administration’s regulatory reform efforts continue to accelerate, as new data released Wednesday show.

Over the past two years, federal agencies have reduced regulatory costs by $23 billion and eliminated hundreds of burdensome regulations, creating opportunities for economic growth and development. This represents a fundamental change in the direction of the administrative state, which, with few exceptions, has remained unchecked for decades. The Obama administration imposed more than $245 billion in regulatory costs on American businesses and families during its first two years.

The benefits of deregulation are felt far and wide, from lower consumer prices to more jobs and, in the long run, improvements to quality of life from access to innovative products and services. Eliminating unnecessary and duplicative red tape has helped the Trump administration achieve the lowest unemployment rates in nearly 50 years and dramatic economic growth for our country.

The administration’s reform agenda focuses on unleashing the freedom of American workers, innovators and businesses. At the same time, we work with agencies to meet the regulatory responsibilities Congress has required. Agencies now focus on developing common-sense regulatory policies that work for the American people by protecting health and safety while minimizing costly, unnecessary burdens.

As Learned Hand, one of America’s great judges, said: “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.” Regulation essentially functions as lawmaking without the checks provided by a representative Congress, and it can be challenging to know whether a regulation benefits the broader public or a particular interest group or ideology. Humility about government intervention protects the spirit of liberty that animates our productive and innovative society.

When reviewing regulations, we start with a question: What is the problem this regulation is trying to fix? Unless otherwise required by law, we move forward only when we can identify a serious problem or market failure that would be best addressed by regulation. This administration adheres to these principles and has particularly focused on reinforcing the rule of law when setting regulatory policy. Agencies across the federal government must realize that they do not possess the authority to create laws; they simply enforce the laws Congress has passed and the president has signed. The administration also aims to restore greater transparency and respect for the constitutional values of due process and fair notice.

Our commitment to these good regulatory practices has contributed to the incredible economic boom since Trump took office. Across America, businesses and families are experiencing greater economic freedom, and we project even more significant results in the coming year.

Neomi Rao is administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.

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