Donald Trump’s campaign is a Republican Hindenburg of presidential hopes, and even his own party believes he will lose. His “grab them by the pussy” remark and its ensuing sexual assault allegations really sank his hopes of a comeback.
In his desperation to win back the GOP’s motivated support, Trump has thrown out the biggest slab of dripping red conservative meat that Republicans could wish for: the elimination of the majority of governmental regulations.
At a recent campaign rally, Trump made a policy proposal as arbitrary and politically ignorant as any he has vowed before in boasting that he would eliminate a majestic 70-80% of governmental regulations. Trump is not a total libertarian, though, and he elaborated that he does support having “immaculate air, beautiful clear air, and crystal clean water.”
Although air and water are apparently where his support for regulations end because he finished his thought with, “Once you go beyond that, you start to lose all of us, OK?”
Historically and ideologically, governmental regulations are the bane of laissez-faire conservatives’ existence, and proverbial red tape has been allegedly destroying America’s economy ever since the government took children out of the work force and put them in public schools. Other supposed red tape job-killing regulations include the right of injured workers to sue the businesses that maim them, minimum wage laws, and overtime wage laws. Oh yes, communism has successfully invaded America, and it snuck in via a paltry $7.25 minimum wage.
It follows the usual conservative idea that regulations make it just too hard to become a billionaire in the US. Fortunately, America has billionaires like Donald Trump to explain this unfairness to us peasants.
Trump would know all about America’s rough treatment of the superrich because Trump started out with “just about nothing,” and he managed to build a company for 40+ years until he had a net worth he boasts is over $10 billion dollars. Now Trump is running for president with a plan for a modernly unprecedented low tax rate of just 15% because he is simply tired of regulations keeping businesses like his from growing.
Gotta love ironic sarcasm, right? Because the reality is that Donald started off with a million dollar loan from his dad and then inherited the Trump business worth hundreds of millions, with which he later figured out a way to skip paying any income taxes at all for nearly two decades. He’s also worth nowhere near $10 billion, though he’s probably worth at least $1 billion—even if little of his net worth is in definable, liquid assets.
America, if you follow any of this column’s advice, let it be this: never trust a billionaire when he or she says that it’s too hard to become a billionaire in America. Trump is a rich trust fund baby who really wants to be president, which is why he’s stupidly proposing cutting 70-80% of all governmental regulations in a desperate attempt to win back conservatives who have forsaken him on account of his terrible personality.
It may be a Republican fantasy to eliminate the majority of regulations, but it’s utter ignorance about how the government works and what the President can actually do.
First off, a President Trump would simply not have the power to get rid of the vast majority of regulations because they have been passed into law by Congress. Most regulations are also passed inside lengthy bills that include dozens if not hundreds of other policies and regulations, which makes targeting any specific regulations for elimination extremely difficult.
Trump could potentially sign a new executive order to repeal all regulations implemented by his predecessors’ executive orders, but that would still be a far cry from the 70-80% Trump is talking about. It would also be a big middle finger to political precedent, and the idea of every president coming into office only to immediately undo literally everything the previous president did would be a very unhealthy and unstable way to govern a rather globally important nation.
To gut Congressionally passed regulations, a President Trump would likely have a very difficult time convincing Congress, particularly because if elected he will likely be facing a Democratic majority in the Senate. Democrats would probably oppose repealing what many of them see as some of their party’s greatest political accomplishments.
Additionally, every regulation currently in the books was at one time implemented to benefit some private or public interest somewhere, and unless that interest is now some defunct economic enterprise—such as the whaling industry, for example—it is probably safe to assume that the regulation has some support somewhere by legislators, corporate interests, or the American public who will fight any efforts to erode what they view as quality governance. Will a President Trump use up his political capital fighting minuscule regulations that are existentially important to the people or companies for which they were written?
Furthermore, since individual regulations rarely get packaged alone and are often only a single line of long, sweeping legislative bills that only got crafted and passed into law long after the problem they alleviate was identified, repealing whole bills at a time will simultaneously repeal countless other policies and funding allocations that help make America functional as a nation on a day to day basis.
As such, Trump’s seemingly arbitrary range of 70 to 80% of all regulations suggests he has little understanding of the purpose for regulations beyond clean water and air. Governmental regulations protect Americans in a myriad of ways, and Trump might be forgetting about generally positive regulations, such as the ones that ensure America has sanitary food that won’t kill us, safe medicine approved by FDA testing, and sound transportation safety standards. Perhaps he is also forgetting about the plethora of labor laws that prevent discrimination again workers because of their gender, race, religious beliefs, age, or sexual orientation status. We can all agree that those are important right?
The reality is that these alleged job-killing regulations are vital to the economy at a macro level, and necessary for Americans’ well being at the micro level. Fundamentally, regulations are rules that help ensure equal playing fields that in theory benefit society as a whole—though I understand Trump has little personal perspective on level playing fields because every field on which he has participated has been leveled for him by his father’s wealth.
Governmental regulations also insure the stability of our entire economy by preventing giant corporate entities from leveraging other people’s money for their own high-risk profit ventures. Remember the too-big-to-fail banking catastrophe that nearly ruined the entire world economy? The Great Recession and the Great Depression before it did not occur because there was TOO MUCH regulation. Perhaps more so than in any other industry, regulations play an extremely important role in banking. They prevent lenders from flagrantly stealing everyone’s money and sabotaging their credit.
Regulations are also of extreme importance in the health insurance industry by preventing insurance companies from screwing over their beneficiaries and killing them by withholding needed and deserved medical coverage for motives of greed. Even if health industry regulations keep insurance companies from epic profits, we can agree those regulations that save actual people’s lives are important, right?
See? A lot of regulations are actually really important, and they range from insuring the safety and integrity of everything from seat belts, airplanes, roads, bridges, baby formula, medical practices, the sanitation of our cities, the safe construction of our homes, etc., etc.
While some regulations are undeniably unnecessary or outdated, that is no reason to irresponsibly propose the willy-nilly elimination of 70-80% of them across the board. Furthermore, Trump can get into the weeds of choosing his 70-80% of regulations to cut, but does he want to spend his entire presidency getting into fights with virtually every commercial industry and public advocacy group in America? It’s just not practical politically.
It’s definitely not practical economically because it would dramatically hurt America’s trade relationships both globally and domestically. Who would buy American products and exports if they were intentionally unregulated? Remember how China got into a lot of trouble because their products weren’t insured for safety and quality, and were consequently contaminated with lead-based paint because Chinese manufacturers were ignoring public safety in pursuit of profits? Remember how Chinese products got boycotted until China was forced to install the regulations Trump is apparently proposing to cut? Is that the role model for Trump’s regulatory vision? Yikes.
Vote against Donald Trump so we don’t all die, get maimed or get poisoned in ways that economic regulations can easily prevent. His mindless anti-regulation stance is stupid, impractical, and likely impossible.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.