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EDITORIAL: Donald Trump makes a bit of headway on regulatory relief

It would take years to significantly erode a federal regulatory state that has grown like kudzu for more than eight decades, but President Donald Trump has at least gassed up the weed-whacker.

The Associated Press reported this week that the White House has “withdrawn or delayed 860 proposed regulations in its first six months.” That includes 19 major rules estimated to have an impact of $100 million or more.

“It’s really just the beginning of a kind of fundamental regulatory reform,” Neomi Rao of the Office of Management and Budget told the wire service.

Mr. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to cut two regulations for every new one imposed. The Washington Examiner reports that he has so far delivered, “eliminating 16 old rules for every new one.”

Contrast that with Barack Obama, who set records for expanding the administrative state and then wondered why the economy sputtered under his watch. During his first five months in office, Mr. Obama imposed $3.1 billion in regulatory costs, the OMB estimated. Over the same period, Mr. Trump has saved $22 million through regulatory relief, the agency noted.

Members of the Trump “resistance” will no doubt hyperventilate that the administration seeks to harm children and the elderly while consigning Americans to drinking water laced with sewage and air clogged with industrial pollutants.

In fact, modestly reducing the Federal Register’s pace of expansion will in no way endanger the environmental progress of the past 40 years. Many federal rules and diktats are nothing more than burdensome and protectionist red tape, the result of special-interest lobbying and influence.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulations cost the economy $1.9 trillion each year. Ensuring that new bureaucratic edicts make sense from a cost-benefit perspective — while unshackling U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs from the chains of federal overreach — is just common sense.

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