Trump's Promises by John Stossel

This week, Donald Trump will officially become the Republican nominee. Soon he is likely to again be president, according to the most accurate predictions, which come from people who put their money where their mouths are — people who bet. They currently give Trump a 67% chance of winning. President Joe Biden’s chances have fallen below 20%. 

This is good news to those of us who fear America is gradually being strangled by ever-increasing regulations. Trump promises to get rid of bad rules. "Remove the anchor dragging us down!” he said. “We’re going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation!” Trump was a developer, so he knew about the thicket of rules that often make it nearly impossible to get things done. But Republicans routinely talk about deregulation and then add rules. 

The media called George W. Bush the “anti-regulator.” But once Bush was president, he appointed thousands of new regulators. Trump was different. Once in office, he hired regulation skeptics. He told government agencies: Get rid of two regulations for every new one you add! But they didn’t. Growth of regulation slowed under Trump, but it still increased. 

Still, I think Trump’s anti-regulation attitude was why stock prices rose and unemployment dropped. He sent a message to businesses: Government will no longer crush you! Businesses then started hiring more people. 

Of course, the media weren’t happy. Reporters love regulation. The New York Times ran the headline, “Donald Trump is Trying to Kill You”! Regulation advocates don’t understand that regulations’ unintended side effects often outweigh the good the regulation was supposed to do. Cars built smaller (to comply with Democrats’ rules that require increased gas mileage) kill people. That’s because smaller cars provide less protection. “Should the government tell you what kind of car to buy?” complained Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform in a video I made about Trump. Norquist says that Trump largely kept his deregulation promise, and that was great for America. 

For example, Trump repealed the Obama-era plan to classify franchise businesses like McDonald’s as one single business. Why was that good? “Trial lawyers want to be able to sue all McDonald’s, not just the local McDonald’s, if they spill coffee on themselves,” says Norquist. “Labor unions want to unionize all McDonald’s, not just one store. That would have been a disaster.” Trump’s FCC repealed Obama’s “net neutrality” rules, which slowed the growth of internet options by limiting providers’ freedom to charge different prices. Democrats screamed. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that repeal would mean “the end of the internet as we know it.” Instead, none of the terrible things predicted (they’ll cut you off!) happened. Innovation continued. The internet just got better. Yet now the Biden administration wants net-neutrality reinstated! They also want to ban election betting, the useful mechanism that gives us better predictions about the future, and the election odds I quote above. Regulators give their repression nice names to make their rules sound valuable: today they propose a Data Privacy Protection Act, a Cybersecurity Resilience Act, Fair Lending For All Act, etc. 

“The names for these regulations are written by regulators,” laughs Norquist. “They’re advertisements for themselves,” He jokes that regulators should, like drug companies, list side effects of their rules: “May cause unemployment, reduce wages, raise the cost of energy … “ Trump’s deregulation record would be better if he hadn’t added new regulations, like tariffs, at the same time. “Trump is a protectionist in many ways,” says Norquist, sadly. “Tariffs are taxes, and regulations on the border are regulations on consumers.” 

When Trump took office, he announced, “We have cut 22 regulations for every one new regulation!” But it’s not true. America’s Deep State is hard to fight. Many of the 22 million Americans who work for government think they’re not doing their job if they don’t regulate more. Despite Trump’s promises, he left America with more regulations than we had when he took office. I hope a future President Trump will cut his tariffs and agricultural subsidies, and kill the Export-Import Bank, drug prohibition and thousands of other rules that do more harm than good.

You can read more of John Stossel's writing at www.johnstossel.com.

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