Deregulation, Reagan-Style

From: The Regulatory Review

Presidents Reagan and Trump differ on approaches to social and economic regulation.

History can help explain the politics of regulation, but only if we first understand that there are different kinds of regulation out there. For example, one might usefully—if imperfectly—distinguish economic regulation—that is, the intensive regulation of specific industries in ways that often manage the supply or price of certain goods or both—from social regulation—that is, the protection of the public from general social harms, such as pollution or unsafe workplaces.


Some background: By the late 1970s, a political and intellectual movement that crossed party lines had begun to rethink the wisdom of much economic regulation. Market-oriented economists argued that interfering with the work of the invisible hand was inefficient and bound to fail, while consumer-oriented liberals argued that their constituents would often see lower prices and better service through competition than they were getting through regulation.

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