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#NeverNeeded Report: Systemic Regulatory Reform Will Aid Economic Recovery from COVID-19

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Policy makers at all levels of government have waived more than 600 regulations, including rules impeding access to medical care and making the economic shock worse, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In a new paper for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, senior fellow Ryan Young argues that systemic reform to our bloated and harmful regulatory state is needed to further boost the economic recovery.

In his latest contribution to CEI’s #NeverNeeded campaign, Young identifies two institutional reforms that could have both immediate advantages in recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and substantial long-term benefits: setting up a regulatory reduction commission modeled on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions and automatically sunsetting all federal regulations. 

BRAC commissions were used by the Department of Defense in the 1990s to close obsolete facilities with powerful political backing, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. 

Sunset provisions ensure new regulations have expiration dates, allowing harmful rules to “die of natural causes” with minimum expenditure of political capital. The state of Idaho, for instance, sunsets its entire code of regulations at the end of each year unless the state legislature reauthorizes it. Young also advocates for further pruning. 

While many of these ideas can be implemented by executive order, Congress will have to be involved, especially with the regulatory reduction commission. And while these proposals are aimed at the federal level, they can be implemented at the state and local levels as well.

“The two institutional reforms to the regulatory state I propose would not only have immediate benefits in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, they would also help us in the long term to prepare for future crises,” said Young. “A regulatory reduction commission would help reduce the large existing stock of harmful rules and sunsetting rules would help keep the flow of new regulations manageable. Congress should work with the Administration to pass these crucial reforms into law.”

You can read the report here: How to Make Sure Reformed #NeverNeeded Regulations Stay That Way

Learn more about CEI’s #NeverNeeded campaign here.

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