Recently I attended the launch by Scott Pruitt of the EPA's new Office of Continuous Improvement (and, as proof, you can see me in the background of this official photo). Having worked in and around governments around the Anglosphere since the mid-1990s, these sort of initiatives do not fill me with much confidence.
The reason is, by the standards of competitive free markets, government agencies like the EPA can be made to operate less inefficiently but never truly efficiently. Too often even those on the Right simply believe they can "centrally plan" better than those on the Left. This is not right.
As Thomas Jefferson once said:
That government that governs least governs best.
This means that the EPA, as well as other agencies and departments of the Trump Administration, should continue to focus on reducing, not 'improving', regulations in 2018 like they did in 2017.
Regarding last year, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) optimistically reported in April that:
The 2017 Federal Register contained 61,308 pages, the lowest count since 1993 and a 36% drop from Obama's 95,894 pages in 2016, the highest level ever recorded.
Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per US household each year, more than Americans spend on any category in their family budget except for housing.
The Mercatus Center was also optimistic, but less so than CEI, when they reported in January that:
During President Trump's first year, federal regulations grew by about 0.65%, less than the growth rate of any other president's first year in office since our data begin in 1970. This rate of growth is also less than one-third of the long-term annual growth rate for federal regulations, which, from 1970 to 2016, was about 2.1%.
And noting that the number of EPA regulatory restrictions in the first year of Trump were just over 1,000 compared to that of almost 5,000 and over 6,000 for Obama and Bush II respectively.
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