Igniting an economic comeback is the federal government’s most important job now that efforts to flatten the curve and support medical workers have succeeded. President Trump recently released his Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, empowering federal agencies to remove red tape to help businesses quickly and safely recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, argues, “Typically, when our country has faced a crisis, Washington responds by grabbing more power. President Trump understands that to get the economy moving, the power needs to be given back to the people and entrepreneurs.”
The president deserves credit for acting in a way most politicians would never consider. His administration is allowing doctors to practice medicine across state lines and rolling back regulations that made online learning difficult. These actions help combat the coronavirus while allowing Americans to live their lives as normally as possible. Hopefully, the rest of Washington follows President Trump’s lead and works together to speed our economic recovery.
Federal agencies have taken over 600 deregulatory actions in response to the pandemic, and more deregulation is needed as we enter a new phase of our response. With over 36 million Americans unemployed and experts predicting the economy may shrink by 40% in the second quarter, Congress and the president need to pass policies allowing Americans to quickly get back to work without having to jump through pointless hoops.
In many cases, the government should extend or expand existing deregulatory efforts, like allowing hospitals to increase the number of beds without government permission. Congress should also pass a bill allowing President Trump to temporarily eliminate regulations he deems burdensome. Finally, the application process for infrastructure projects needs to be expedited to encourage investment and a quick economic rebound.
By issuing an executive order directing the government to cut red tape, President Trump is committing to unleash the American economy. Businesses should be encouraged to reopen in the safest way possible, without worrying about being closed or sued.
A vast majority of Americans back these deregulatory efforts because they know useless regulations impede growth. Polling shows that 66% of Americans support giving President Trump extended deregulatory powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 74% believe the permitting process for infrastructure projects should be simplified.
Unfortunately, not everyone backs President Trump’s deregulation efforts, as many Democrats in Washington are choosing politics over recovery. The health of the economy is, historically, the primary indicator of whether an incumbent wins re-election. A strong economy and rehiring would propel Trump to a second term in the White House. Liberals in Washington, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, would rather see President Trump defeated in November than help secure our economic future.
For evidence of this, consider the stimulus bill recently passed by House Democrats. Pelosi’s latest $3 trillion bill is more of a socialist “policy wish list” for radical liberals than one that advances policies to encourage rapid rehiring. For example, Pelosi’s legislation extends unemployment insurance benefits that pay many Americans more for not working than for their jobs but doesn’t provide any additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, helping small businesses prevent layoffs. Other provisions – like the dramatic increase in federal regulations – would actually make it harder for American businesses to reopen and rehire laid-off employees.
Democrats are further complicating matters by rebuffing Republican efforts to institute liability protection against plaintiff attorney lawsuits for businesses that reopen. The threat of frivolous lawsuits weighs heavily over business owners and, if left unaddressed, could further dampen recovery measures while lining the pockets of Democrat-aligned trial lawyers.
As the Wall Street Journal editorial board says, “Most employers are adopting practices recommended by public health including keeping workers at least six feet apart and are regularly sanitizing their facilities. States need to grant them legal protection if they do.”
The U.S. economy can and will recover. Before the lockdown, our economy was among the strongest in the world. Employing free-market policies – fiscal restraint, free trade, protection from frivolous lawsuits, and cutting red tape – will be key to future prosperity. President Trump’s executive order is a crucial step toward achieving an economic rebound. As the president and congressional Republicans pursue deregulation, Democrats will hopefully cooperate to pass popular legislation spurring economic revival.