Managing the Monster


Lawmakers should be trained to limit excessive regulation.

One of President Donald J. Trump’s earliest executive orders, like those of many of his predecessors, was devoted to reducing regulatory burdens. This goal was not exceptional; most developed jurisdictions around the word have similar ambitions. The United Kingdom, for example, has established a policy that calls for eliminating three regulations for every one new regulation—although this policy is not implemented in practice. Canada and Australia have legislation dedicated to reducing regulation. Similarly, the European Union has an entire body devoted to regulatory reduction; related EU guidance notes are over 600 pages long.


Maybe it is time to devise a program of improvement to help lawmakers and regulators provide a better service to the public. This could include not only training—and maybe qualifications, so that no one could stand for office or take a job in regulation without a diploma in lawmaking—but also the swearing of an oath to uphold the principles of honest rulemaking—and maybe to comply with a code of practice. Of course, none of this would be enforceable, nor should it be. But it might work over time to change the mindset of our lawmakers.

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