Fact: Regulations are in the crosshairs. Regardless of their history, applicable industries or agencies, or initial justifications, regulations are running headlong into a de-regulation firing squad. No matter your particular political leanings or feelings on the subject, it cannot be denied that the zeitgeist opposes too many regulations and regulators; popular sentiment views regulations as the kudzu suffocating the life out of American industry and the American worker.
Public sentiment partly explains the swath of politicians waving the de-regulation banner. And those politicians are currently on a bit of a winning streak. During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump repeatedly lambasted government regulations and promised to rein them in. Within weeks of taking office, the regulation roll-back was officially underway, beginning with President Trump’s Executive Orders requiring federal agencies to establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces” to eliminate so-called red tape in the form of “costly and unnecessary regulations,” and to nix two regulations for every new one promulgated by any federal agency.1 The idea behind the de-regulation fervor is simple: regulations act as a hurdle to the regulated industries, cramping those industries’ ability to grow and develop, which means fewer jobs and stagnant wages for the affected workers.