Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sunday Editorial: Weighing Up Trump's First Year in Office

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sunday Editorial: Weighing Up Trump's First Year in Office

Article excerpt

Byline: TimesUnion Editorial Board

The stock market is hitting new highs, the jobless rate is hitting new lows and the economy is doing well.

In fact, American satisfaction with the economy is at a high not seen since 2001, reported a Wall Street JournalNBC News poll.

A landslide share of 69 percent of Americans are satisfied with the economy, yet they are reluctant to credit President Donald Trump for it.

He is viewed less favorably as a leader than a year ago when he was inaugurated.

Fewer Americans credit him with changing "business as usual in Washington" (45 percent to 35 percent) than when he took office.

Those rating him "effective for getting things done" has dropped from 46 percent to 36 percent.

Yet Trump deserves some credit for the positives in the economy.

And one of his biggest successes is not well appreciated.

This businessman has produced his biggest positive impacts by attacking the "deep state" in Washington, the regulatory state of unelected bureaucrats who too often burden businesses with costly and inefficient regulations.

A good way to put this in perspective is by looking at a few facts:

* In Barack Obama's last year as president, the Federal Register passed 90,000 pages for the first time.

* In Trump's first year, he slashed the Federal Register to about 53,000 pages.

* In the last year of the Obama administration, 527 significant regulations were written.

* In Trump's first year just 118 of them were written and several of them were delaying or weakening Obama's rules.

* The administration formally revoked 67 rules, withdrew 635 planned ones, put 244 on inactive status and delayed 700 of them.

Trump claimed this is "the most farreaching regulatory reform" in U.S. history. And though he is prone to exaggeration, he is close to correct. Even President Ronald Reagan cut the Federal Register pages by less.

Trump has challenged his Cabinet to scrap two regulations for every new one and to look for outdated, unlawful and excessive regulations.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

The proper attitude is to weigh regulations strictly on a costeffectiveness basis. And it is here that the Trump administration deserves criticism.

Environmental rules are being changed to disregard the health impacts of the rules.

"Even diehard libertarians should worry when the administration weakens rules governing leaching of coal ash into groundwater, or permits the use of pesticides that may impact children's brain development," wrote the Economist magazine in an editorial.

Even when rules are needed, they need to be crafted for a maximum of simplicity and efficiency. So there is nothing wrong to enlist those directly affected by the rules when crafting them.

A better way to deal with regulations is with a thorough, thoughtful approach much like the Grace Commission of the Reagan administration. …

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