For all the faults one can find with President-Elect Donald Trump, along with some of his stated anti-business positions in the past, he seems to be a proponent of deregulation in at least two of his announced nominations. In the opinion of at least one libertarian (me), most deregulation is good deregulation. It aids in the growth of businesses, and therefore, aids in the growth of the economy. Maybe not all of Trump’s nominations will include deregulation-minded people, but at least two of them could have quite a a positive impact.
First, Trump announced a nice pick from my home State to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Pruitt is known as a “climate denier”, and he has spent much of his career suing the EPA for overbearing standards that negatively affect the business climate in Oklahoma. I think of him more as a climate realist, and I believe that he will take the opportunity in his new position – should he be confirmed – to change those regulations which seem to grate against common sense and which have an enormous stifling effect on commerce. I had the good fortune of having dinner with Pruitt once many years ago. He is a determined man, with a heart and mind toward sincere beliefs in capitalism and creating positive environments for commerce and business.
As anyone who is involved with oversight under the EPA will probably tell you, the enormous amounts of regulation and red tape that the EPA brings are a truly heavy burden to bear. Some businesses have to hire a full time attorney just to make sure they are following all the regulations. Most regulations are designed to appease believers of man-made climate change, and relatively few of them are addressing the types of things that directly affect people. Not all the regulations are bad, but as with any large government agency, things are very inefficient and subject to political whims.
Then, Trump selected Jay Clayton to head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Clayton has spent much of his career as an attorney for major Wall Street deals, battling the SEC on unfair regulations that detract from the easy flow of capital in the stock market, and amongst large corporations. I am much less familiar with Clayton, but as head of the SEC, I believe he is likely to drop many of the overbearing regulations that are unnecessary barriers to the exercise of free trade amongst investors and business. Hopefully he will be instrumental in better defining the meaning of a crime which is so generally defined, that most people could be committing the crime without knowing it – insider trading. Hopefully he will answer who are the victims and what cases involve a crime. As it stands, anyone trading on information they so much as overhear in an elevator, can be deemed to have committed a crime. How can you know something about a corporation that will either make or save you money and not act on it?
Much of the US economy is driven by what happens in the securities markets. The flow of capital is crucial in both funding business operations and providing investment options for individuals. When these markets are less hindered by bulky regulations, and when the regulations target fraud and theft more than “fairness”, the economy, businesses, and individual returns fair much better.
So, it’s too early to tell whether the Trump administration will be friendly to deregulation, since he hasn’t yet taken office. However, there are at least two examples of positive signs. I have not been a fan of Trump, and I am certainly not shilling for him now. I am simply hopeful of what I see as good candidates for deregulation in significant ways that can have a real positive impact on the US economy, and by extension, the wallets of the US citizenry. There is much about Trump I do not like, but I am happy and hopeful about at least these two Trump nominees.
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