Three Years of Regulatory Reform: Did the President’s Executive Orders Work?

From: American Action Forum

By Sam Batkins

Three years ago, President Obama issued Executive Order 13,563 (Order 13,563) attempting to reduce “redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping” regulations. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator at the time, Cass Sunstein, hailed the measure as “unprecedented.” He and President Obama took to the op-ed pages to trumpet this new effort at deregulation.

However, upon careful inspection, Order 13,563 isn’t unprecedented; it hasn’t cut red tape, and many of the touted reforms were recycled from the previous administration. For example, President Jimmy Carter issued an executive order in 1978 urging retrospective review, 33 years before President Obama’s efforts: “Agencies shall periodically review their existing regulations to determine whether they are achieving the policy goals of this Order.”

Has Washington actually cut red tape? On net, final rules from Order 13,563 have added more than $10.2 billion in costs, mostly from new regulations labeled as “retrospective.” Final rules have cut 7.9 million hours of paperwork, but Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act have easily outpaced those deregulatory gains.

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