ICYMI: Biden’s Regulatory Apocalypse
By Rep. Jodey Arrington
May 26, 2023
We live in an over-regulated America. While it’s important to set reasonable rules of the road for public health and safety, by congressional abdication, and executive activism, we have created a fourth branch of government and a massive regulatory state that is compromising our freedom, quenching our entrepreneurial spirit, and choking the life out of our economy. On average, nearly 25,000 regulatory restrictions are put on the books annually. The Code of Federal Regulations is now so long that it would take a dedicated reader at least three years to get through the whole thing.
The cumulative effect of this seemingly infinite set of rules and regulations is devastating to our economy , global competitiveness, and quality of life. A 2016 Mercatus Center study found that if regulations had remained at 1980 levels, GDP in 2012 would have been $4 trillion higher and real incomes would be higher by $13,000 per person.
Former President Donald Trump took on the herculean task of deregulating our economy with great success. Instead of just piling on more rules, his administration eliminated eight regulations for every new regulation enacted — removing 25,000 pages of regulations from the Federal Register and saving consumers and businesses more than $220 billion per year. As one economist said, “They shut down the regulatory state.”
It’s not just the economic cost that’s hurting our country. It’s also the circumvention of our democratic process to make policy whole-cloth outside of the constitutional legislative process. Advancing policies by regulatory fiat that could never pass Congress undermines the will of the public and is an affront to our self-determination.
President Joe Biden, through executive orders, has accelerated this trend. Biden is expanding cradle-to-grave welfare and government dependency, pushing hundreds of thousands of people who already have private health insurance onto Obamacare and keeping millions of ineligible people on Medicaid. His new rules also take drastic measures to target American energy and manufacturing by shutting down power plants and dictating everything from what cars and trucks you can buy to what kind of stoves you can use.
This overreaching onslaught of regulations will have real-world consequences that reverberate far beyond the Beltway. A 2017 study found that just a 10% increase in regulations leads to a 0.5% reduction in new firms and a 0.9% reduction in hiring. Anytime new regulatory schemes come along, businesses hold back from investing and hiring, which is the absolute last thing we need right now.
Tackling over-regulation doesn’t just protect jobs and economic growth — it directly helps consumers and families. A 2019 study found that a 10% reduction in regulations would lead to about a 1% reduction in consumer prices. According to our budget analysts, this would result in $837 in savings per year for a family of four due to lower prices.
As one of our highest priorities, the new Republican majority in the House has begun taking action against all this overreach. We have used the Congressional Review Act to reverse several burdensome rules that are a major drag on our economy, such as the infamous "Waters of the United States" rule. And we passed the REINS Act, which will require every new major rule to go through both the House and the Senate before taking effect. This will give the public a real voice in a process that seeks to marginalize those whom these rules affect the most.
We know that truly shutting down the regulatory state will take bold leadership by Congress to reclaim its authority and, ultimately, a Republican president. If we don’t reverse course, the greatest economy in the world will die a death of a thousand regulatory cuts. And our children will not inherit the land of opportunity but an economic wasteland, a bankrupt country, and a very bleak future for their families.
Jodey Arrington is a U.S. representative for Texas and serves as the chairman of the House Budget Committee.