Donald Trump: The Consumer’s President

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Brian J. Wise Managing Partner, Wise Public Affairs
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President-elect Donald Trump is not your typical politician, and that is great news for America’s consumers.

The cycle of cronyism in Washington, D.C., has bred a culture of perpetual regulatory expansion at the executive agencies that fill the massive stone, steel, concrete, and glass structures throughout our nation’s capital. These buildings house individual bureaucrats who create and enforce a twisted web of regulations that drive up consumer costs and have severely restricted consumer choice and freedom.

It’s ironic that the man who made a fortune filling skyscrapers with tenants over the course of his career in real estate may leave a legacy of empty federal buildings in Washington. But President-elect Trump has an opportunity to initiate history-making regulatory reform in D.C. Winning as an outsider non-politician and coming to Washington with a promise to shake things up and do away with business-as-usual, Mr. Trump is uniquely poised to “drain the swamp” of unnecessary and burdensome regulations that plague America’s corporations, small businesses, and consumers, and limit growth.

Over the last eight years, President Obama’s administration has created more than 21,000 new regulations. This has translated into an increased burden of more than $100 billion on American consumers. Many of those rules came from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a newly minted agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Under the guise of protecting consumers, this unaccountable agency has seen fit to create reams of new rules dictating the smallest details of financial transactions, and performed heavy-handed shakedowns of American businesses to advance the President’s political agenda. The agency is now mired in scandal with allegations of rampant racial, gender, and LGBT discrimination, even as President Obama and congressional Democrats like Keith Ellison and Maxine Waters continue to defend it.

The CFPB epitomizes the paternalistic role of the federal government embraced by American progressives (a view which American voters roundly rejected on Election Day). This view believes that average people like you and me aren’t smart enough to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families, so the brilliant bureaucratic minds employed for life by the federal government must make those choices for us.

But this is only one example of one renegade agency. There are stories like this and evidence of abusive power-wielding across the Executive Branch.

A system-wide reorganization is long overdue. It’s time to bring the federal government into the 21st century. Americans deserve a smarter, leaner, more transparent government that serves them rather than the other way around.

Rules must be updated, programs streamlined, duplicative efforts combined, and unnecessary regulations eliminated in favor of greater freedom for consumers and more incentives for smart, forward-thinking businessmen and women to innovate.

It is critical that President-elect Trump undertake a complete overhaul of the federal regulatory regime, assessing the impact of out-of-control rulemaking at agencies like the EPA, HHS, IRS, and the departments of Education, Energy, Transportation, and the Interior. In addition, a comprehensive update of regulations for financial institutions is necessary to ensure that we aren’t doing more harm than good to America’s economy and consumers, while still protecting them from fraud.

As a businessman, President-elect Trump understands the detrimental impact that unnecessary, overly complex and often duplicative regulations have on business and the economy. As a candidate, Trump promised to “issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations.” As President, Mr. Trump is expected to bring a type of “pragmatic transactionalism” to his leadership of the country. If Mr. Trump opts to employ the same cost-benefit analysis that has made him so effective in business when weighing policy decisions on regulatory issues, consumers will stand to benefit in the form of increased choice and freedom to access the products and services they want.

When the regulations of the Obama Administration are analyzed on that basis, it is unlikely that most will survive. When the CFPB is analyzed on that basis, it is certain not to survive, at least not in its current form.

A massive overhaul of the federal regulatory system would be a risky political move, as progressives rush to circle the wagons around their pet projects. But Donald Trump is no ordinary political figure, and if we’ve learned anything from his historic victory, it’s that he’s not afraid of a fight.

If successful, such sweeping reform would be an accomplishment that would cement President Donald J. Trump’s place in the history books for generations. It may be painful at first, but lifting the regulatory burden and modernizing government as a whole will ultimately result in lower prices for consumer goods and services, more jobs for middle class workers, and a shot in the arm to an economy that has been weighed down for decades with increasingly burdensome rules that have stifled innovation, displaced American workers, and driven away investment. President-elect Trump’s executive leadership in this area could be a boon to American consumers, the businesses that serve them, and the economy as a whole.