Consumer Confidential: Trump doesn't want you knowing the benefits of regulations far outweigh the costs

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

"It seems like they don't want people to know that the benefits of government regulations in Obama's last year far exceeded the costs," Narang said.

I reached out to the White House for comment. No one got back to me.

Narang crunched the numbers for the last decade and estimated that the net benefit to Americans from regulations was as much as $833 billion, or 12 times what these rules cost industry to impose.

"Much of these benefits are in the form of health and safety," he said. "So one way to look at this is that if you don't control emissions from factories, you're looking at all sorts of added costs to society, such as cancer, children's asthma and serious respiratory illnesses."

The Trump administration's report completely undercuts its argument that regulations are bad for the country because they stifle job growth and innovation. In fact, the U.S. economy logged steady if unspectacular growth throughout the Obama years.

This week, we learned that despite Trump's deregulatory push, economic growth slowed more than initially thought over the final three months of 2017, down to 2.5 percent from 3.2 percent during the previous quarter.

Perhaps that can be traced to Trump's arbitrary and reckless policy that for every new government regulation, two existing ones have to be thrown out. He's fond of saying this both limits new rule-making and cleans house of older rules that don't jibe with his policy agenda.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Don't need that. Environmental Protection Agency? It can get by with 23 percent less funding. School safety? We can cut spending there by $425 million.

What Trump isn't saying -- but which his own numbers clearly spell out: Take away rules and regulations, and all you end up doing is shortchanging the American people.

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