The Time is Ripe for Real Regulatory Reform
During the tumultuous first year of the Trump Administration, the untold story has been the significant efforts to mitigate the numerous regulatory overreaches by the Obama Administration. The overall regulatory overreach of the Obama Administration has been conservatively scored in excess of $1.7 trillion in lost economic opportunity. In simpler terms, that was $1.7T in lost jobs, wages, business investment and innovation.
A year later, and with a major tax bill to boot, the economy has been relieved of much of the Obama Administration overreach and is now ironically starting to raise concerns about too much economic growth. The recent volatility in the stock market is just an indicator of how even the most optimistic analysts may have under estimated the growth potential. Time will tell.
For me, the overarching takeaway is how to take advantage of the new regulatory reform environment to protect the baking and food industry from potential regulatory overreach in a responsible and reasonable way. For the first time since the 1990s, broad reforms on how the federal government promulgates regulations are being discussed. Clearly the President’s 2-1 regulatory trade-in is having an impact, but other ideas, such as extending small business and realistic regulatory cost assessments to an agency like the EPA, are under consideration. ABA recently offered specific suggestions to streamline and enhance the FDA regulatory process.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is intent on addressing the regulation by guidance that so enamored the Obama Administration. The numerous “guidance” documents promulgated by FDA, EPA, OSHA and others had the force of law without the customary and necessary input from regulatory stakeholders or, frankly, congressional oversight. Sen. Johnson’s legislation would significantly curtail this practice.
Regulatory reforms that would avoid future regulatory overreach, and the corresponding drag on the economy, include a stronger reliance upon sound scientific research, commonly accepted (except in the federal government) cost-benefit analysis, greater transparency and honest economic impact analysis on regulatory agencies. These reforms, while not likely to garner breaking news hashtags, in conjunction with Congress fulfilling its regulatory oversight and review function, would be greatly welcomed.
All too often in the dry and dull world of the regulatory process, a process the Obama Administration used to great advantage, the system is gamed by narrow special interests grinding their own pet axes – mixed metaphors intended. Now is the time to implement commonsense reforms to the federal regulatory system that will restore integrity and confidence in the outcome. ABA is relying on its members to provide data, research and examples to help advance regulatory reform.