The end of the year is a time of reflection, when we imagine our best selves – the people we could be if we kicked all of our bad habits. Similarly, now is the perfect time for members of the incoming Trump administration to reflect on where America is and set policy goals for the coming year. If they do resolve to adopt the following policies, we at CEI will do our best to make sure that, unlike many other Americans who attempt New Year’s resolutions, they stick to their good intentions.
- Put the regulatory state on a serious diet
First on the list is to take on the bloated regulatory state. The federal government’s excess of rules costs American households $15,000 each year. Thankfully, President-elect Trump has indicated a desire to shrink this burden. Already, he’s asked his transition team to “develop a list of executive actions we can take on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs.” This is a good sign, but to make lasting progress his team needs to do more than analyze and cut a few rules. The new administration must work with Congress to revisit statutes and downsize or eliminate agencies.
- Get America back to work
The two major jobs-related federal agencies, the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor, are failing to live up to their resolutions to help workers. Their recent rules block workers from new jobs and opportunities, and they are often caught siding with labor unions over workers’ interests. Trump’s team certainly has their work cut out for them. Reform for these agencies can begin by nixing their flexibility-threatening rules, rebalancing a system that is rigged to favor union officials over workers, and protecting and promoting emerging market sectors such as the sharing economy.
- Get our finances in order
It’s time to get America back in good financial standing. Laws and regulations from the past two administrations block entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers from wealth-enhancing opportunities. America’s middle and lower class are particularly hurt as they find they have fewer options for credit, limits to accessing capital, and reduced investment options. These barriers to wealth building make everyone worse off. To rid us of these harmful policies, the incoming Trump administration must reverse what policies they can through executive action, and work with Congress to repeal the rest.
- Have more energy
Access to affordable energy is vital for keeping us healthier, wealthier, and safer. To promote affordable energy while protecting the environment, Trump should hold the Environmental Protection Agency accountable for their harmful regulations and missed deadlines. The next administration should also ensure that America isn’t locked into a policy straitjacket when it comes to using our most affordable and abundant energy sources – coal, oil, and natural gas.
- Stress less over technical issues
Emerging technologies have an enormous potential to improve our lives, including innovations such as unmanned drones, self-driving cars, and advanced robotics. To ensure that we fully reap the benefits of these exciting advances, government agencies must resist erecting bureaucratic roadblocks to their development and deployment. Overregulation in this sphere leads to government picking winners and losers or rigid frameworks that can diminish innovation’s benefits. Trump should avoid regulating emerging technology sectors, reform existing agencies, and get rid of recent interventions that burden the industry. We suggest this helpful three part rule of the thumb for tech policy in the next administration: (1) do no harm; (2) be patient; (3) embrace change.
At this time of year we often say “out with the old and in with the new.” Hopefully the next administration will do the same with outdated and burdensome policies holding the nation back. Let’s instead look for policy solutions that unlock the nation’s wealth-creating potential and lead us into a prosperous new year.
Read CEI’s complete recommendations for the Trump administration here.