Positive results from massive deregulation under the Trump administration.
What gives businesses the confidence to expand and to create more jobs? If you ask most economists, generally the answer you will get is that a fair and predictable tax environment combined with optimism about the direction of the country gives businesses the confidence to invest. A lesser discussed but equally important aspect of business owners’ calculation has to do with the general posture of government agencies towards small businesses. When a new administration takes over, the federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Treasury Department, and Energy Department’s top staffers all turnover as well. Those agencies have massive power to institute new regulations affecting individuals and small businesses. The Trump administration, in order to create the healthiest economic environment possible, took to lowering taxes on small businesses and massively slashing federal red tape through these federal agencies. According to the White House, for every new regulation that has been issued since President Trump taking office, eight regulations have been eliminated. In the President’s July 2020 remarks on the administration’s regulatory successes, he laid out a few specific examples of new helpful regulations that have been promulgated under his administration and old harmful regulations that have been terminated. President Trump:
- “Our regulation cuts will deliver massive savings on broadband internet services and some home energy bills will be, really, historically cut. … As well as historically low gasoline prices.”
- “We’re bringing that consumer choice in home appliances so that you can buy washers and dryers, showerheads and faucets.”
- “Old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs, I brought them back. I brought them back. They have two nice qualities: they’re cheaper and they’re better.”
- “We stopped the egregious abuse of the Clean Water Act, which extreme activists have used to shut down construction projects all across our country.”
- “Vice President Pence is also working closely with state, local, and tribal leaders to streamline occupational licensing. Over 30 states have taken steps to reduce these barriers to unemployment and to employment.”
- “By reining in EPA overreach, my Administration has returned the agency to its core mission of ensuring clean air, clean water, and a truly pristine natural environment.”
- “Yesterday, our country achieved yet another groundbreaking milestone by completing a sweeping overhaul of America’s badly broken infrastructure approval process. … Instead of taking up to 20 years to approve a major project, we’re cutting the federal permitting timeline — it’s already been done — to a maximum of two years or less.”
In addition to these changes, across nearly every agency, there has been a concerted effort to make life easier for small businesses through cutting regulations. One of the first Executive Orders the President signed directed government agencies to identify harmful regulations to cut. Again, in May of this year, the President issued and executive order directing agencies to identify regulatory changes that could help spur economic growth. As a former small business owner myself, I can tell you that the agencies’ posture towards businesses is just as important as a fair tax code. Having gone to battle with the EPA on behalf of the mining industry and serving in the Reagan administration, I saw firsthand how the heavy hand of government can crush small businesses. Federal regulations are usually lengthy and complicated to make sense of, even for government lawyers. The complicated nature of the regulatory process and rulemaking makes it difficult to communicate their importance to the American people and this fact benefited the Obama administration as they added nearly 16,000 new pages of regulations to the federal register. The Trump administration, like the Reagan administration did, understands the importance of creating a healthy environment for small businesses and as a result has cut over 25,000 pages of regulations. According to new numbers this month from the Census Bureau, Trump’s deregulatory agenda has had a major positive impact on the economy.
Earlier this month, the Census Bureau released its 2019 report on annual income, poverty, and health insurance which showed the incredible results of the President’s regulatory reductions. Over 2 million new workers were added in 2019 and incomes grew at the highest pace in history. Poverty hit an all-time low, with over 4 million Americans being lifted out of poverty, the largest one-year decrease in over a half century. For the first time ever in 2019, less than one in five black Americans were suffering from poverty. Living standards increased across the board with real median household income hitting record highs and poverty hitting record lows. The largest gains in employment in 2019 were among women and the largest improvements in income and poverty were among minority groups.
The overall statistics pre-COVID during the President’s term are even more impressive: between 2016 and 2019, 6.6 million Americans were lifted from poverty, with black Americans leading the way. The overall reduction in poverty among all Americans and the 1.2 million black Americans lifted out of poverty both represent the largest reductions on record during the first 3 years of any President in history. Behind these numbers are actual families, businesses, and hard-working Americans who have prospered thanks to a tax plan that Speaker Pelosi predicted would amount to Armageddon and a regulatory agenda that has been consistently attacked by the left.
With less than two months until the Presidential election, the stakes for small businesses and individuals could not be higher. President Trump, having the fortitude to push forward with his aggressive regulatory agenda, created one of the most impressive economies in history before the virus hit. The economic numbers tell the story of millions of families that were given new hope under this administration. At AMAC Action, together with our “army of activists”, we are working hard to make sure the pro-growth tax and regulatory policies of the Trump administration continue and that we do not return to the regulatory overreach of the Obama administration under a President Biden.