In the last 21 months, the President saved you $33 billion of red tape. While this number may appear minimal to some, its magnitude becomes clear when compared to the $245 billion of additional regulatory costs federal agencies under the previous president racked up in his first 21 months in office. This massive policy shift could not have come at a better time.
Over the last decades, the assault of state sovereignty and personal liberties have manifested in a bloated and run-away federal administrative state. The previous president famously abused agency authority in a number of high-profile actions, including the drilling moratorium that left many of our neighbors without the means to provide for their families. Louisiana is far too familiar with the struggle this vicious political attack unfairly imposed, but that battle was merely one in a war for our right to self-governance.
Fortunately, President Donald Trump has turned the tide, unleashing the American economy from $33 billion in federal regulatory burdens since taking office. His executive order requiring federal agencies repeal two regulations for each enacted has saved billions in compliance and regulatory costs, freeing up money that businesses can now use to invest in new projects and employees. Last year alone, $23 billion of this “opportunity” capital was freed from 176 deregulatory actions. But even with plummeting unemployment, growing confidence, and rising wages – the regulatory war of the past administration left our business landscape scarred.
The effects of the liberal assault on business are widespread and take many forms. These costs manifest in increased economic burdens for businesses and consumers alike. The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated that last year the cost of regulation on Americans was $1.9 trillion. That is about $15,000 every year per household – more than the typical family spends on food, clothing and transportation in a year.
But the concerns that these costs impose real burdens on American families are waived away by the Left’s attempt to impose their radical agenda without the consent of Congress. And each year of the Obama presidency saw new and troubling innovation in the area of bureaucratic oppression. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alone was responsible for some of the most egregious offenses: indirect fuel efficiency increases, migratory bird hunting restrictions, the unconstitutional Clean Power Plan, etc. These regulatory actions have immediate and unavoidable impacts on everyday Americans, impacts which were gladly accepted in favor of pushing a global warming agenda.
Thankfully, President Trump understood the unbearable burden that the EPA had been placing on industry. He called upon his EPA Administrator to alleviate that affliction, and the new EPA far exceeded the President’s directive by issuing 22 deregulatory actions for each new regulation. But this victory is not final because, even with the best intentions and partners, states cannot merely stand by and trust that the Federal government will do the right thing. We must take action; and that is what I have been doing.
Consider the fight against the aforementioned Clean Power Plan. This power grab was at the heart of the Left’s fight against global warming, and the rules it spawned would cost American businesses and families billions of dollars. Most troubling, this transformational rule was enacted purely from bureaucratic fiat. The rule, which would have practically outlawed coal-fired power plants including the six in Louisiana, was enacted through the agency’s definitional authority and well beyond Congressional authorization. Thankfully, through cooperation of fellow state attorneys general, we were able to strike this political pipe dream from the books.
In similar fashion, another coalition of state attorneys general recently scored another win in the Supreme Court against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Under an expansive definition of the Endangered Species Act, a Louisiana man was prohibited from going forward with a $20 million development on his own land because it was ruled critical habitat of the Mississippi Dusky Gopher Frog – a frog that has not been seen in the Pelican State in over 50 years. By fighting back, we were able to expose the USFWS in court for abusing its authority when determining critical habitat included land where the species could not currently survive.
None of this is to discount President Trump’s exemplary deregulatory push. In this year alone, the Trump Administration has taken 57 significant deregulatory actions and 14 significant regulatory actions. Deregulatory success is good news, especially for small businesses that are not able to mitigate compliance costs as effectively as large conglomerates. President Trump’s deregulatory push not only removes back-breaking costs and barriers for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs; but it also increases competition, benefitting consumers.
With the Left poised to take control of the House of Representatives, we can expect them to do all they can to reverse President Trump’s success. But if we are to continue the economic prosperity that has made America great again, we must keep eliminating needless and burdensome regulations. As our State’s chief legal officer – I stand ready to continue the fight for self-governance, personal freedom, and economic liberty.
Jeff Landry is Louisiana’s Attorney General.