Credit: John Stossel and ReasonTV
President Donald Trump says he's "undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-killing regulations."
People attack him for it. According to The Young Turks, Trump's deregulation "singlehandedly led the world down a dark path."
The left-wing Economic Policy Institute think tank claims "workers' health, safety, and pay are among the casualties."
But deregulation creates wealth.
"Trump sent a message to business: 'We're not going to crush you.' And that's caused growth," Stossel says to Grover Norquist—who runs Americans for Tax Reform, which fights for lower taxes and fewer rules.
"That was the beginning of a recovery," Norquist responds.
The stock market has risen by about a third since Trump was elected.
Trump has cut hundreds of regulations, including an EPA rule about "waters of the United States" that the agency said gave them power to regulate virtually everyone's land.
The EPA was regulating "little trickles, and the kind of ponds that spring up when it rains a lot one night," says Norquist. "They were using it as land control."
Stossel reported how Jill and Jack Baron, in Idaho, were encouraged by state officials to unclog a drainage ditch—but when they did so, federal officials went after them in court, fining them thousands of dollars a day.
Deregulation saved the Barons, who now have use of their land again.
"We have our land back! Without the change in the White House and the EPA nothing would have changed," Jill Baron writes.
Trump also repealed Obama's new "CAFE" standards—meant to force car makers to produce more fuel-efficient cars. The Obama administration wanted all car makers' fleets to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Trump administration scrapped that, although California may keep the tougher rules.
Trump also ended the previous administration's "net neutrality" rules.
Democrats predicted doom. One Federal Communications Commission official said Trump was "handing the keys to the internet over to a handful of multi-billion-dollar corporations."
Opponents feared that those corporations would jack up prices or slow some website speeds. None of that's happened, Stossel and Norquist note.
Another regulation Trump cancelled would have treated franchise companies like McDonalds as one single business.
Norquist explains why the Obama administration wanted that: "The trial lawyers want to be able to sue all of McDonald's, not just the local McDonald's, if [someone] spills coffee on themselves. And the labor unions wanted to unionize all of McDonald's, not just the one store…that would have been a disaster. That was ended."
But sometimes, Trump adds new regulations—he's mandated that government buy products made in America, and he's added tariffs on lots of imports.
"Trump is a protectionist in many ways, and tariffs are taxes and…regulations on consumers," Norquist says.
"The good news is, the vast majority of the regulatory acts by a factor of many have been deregulatory and they have been tremendously helpful," Norquist says. "He's done a great deal more than anybody in recent history…maybe even more than Reagan did."
By some measures, he did.
Trump claims to have cut 22 rules for every new regulation. He exaggerates, as usual. The real number is about five regulations repealed for every new one passed, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Still, whether it's 5 or 22, It's good whenever excessive regulations are cut. Regulations take our time, opportunity, and our freedom.
The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.