The Next President Should Learn from Reagan’s Legacy on Government Reform

My colleague Wayne Crews has a fascinating policy brief out this week, “Channeling Reagan by Executive Order: How the Next President Can Begin Rolling Back the Obama Regulation Rampage.” In considering what we can do today to rein in the steady growth of the federal regulatory state, Wayne points us back to the executive order that President Reagan signed in 1981, required agencies to ensure that the benefits to society of all new and existing regulations outweigh their costs, and to choose regulatory approaches that impose the least net cost. Reagan’s effort was unfortunately later superseded by a Bill Clinton executive order, which watered down the original protections significantly.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Harper at the Washington Times highlighted “Channeling Reagan” for the Inside the Beltway column:

As the Democrat and Republican parties debate priority issues for their party policy platforms, they have a unique opportunity to strike at out-of-control regulations. A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute offers a starting point for both party platforms and especially the next president: President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 executive order – E.O 12291 – which gave the White House oversight and review of federal regulations.

Yes, think about it. The yearly clutter of new regulations ends up costing the tax paying public more, and it contributes to all that gridlock voters complain about.

As the presidential election nears, more observers and pundits will turn to the question of what should be at the top of the next president’s agenda. A strong reaffirmation of the proper role of the regulatory review process should definitely be on the list.