Is Trump deregulating the economy?


Jeff Sessions and the Resurgence of Civil-Asset Forfeiture


Trump administration toughens H-1B visa renewal process

“[With the update], we are going to much greater scrutiny of these cases, and thus delays, even when the underlying facts have not changed,” Lawrence told CNNMoney.

Immigration attorney Chris Wright of The Wright Law Firm told CNNMoney that it fits a broader pattern: “It seems clear that USCIS have been instructed to push back wherever they can…” he said, noting that “the prevailing attitude seems to be, ‘How might we be able to deny this petition?'”


Sessions cracks down on cities over immigration enforcement

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took new steps Thursday to punish cities he believes are not cooperating with federal immigration agents in a move that was met with bewilderment by local officials who said they did not know why they were being singled out.


AT&T-Time Warner suit could be the start of a more aggressive antitrust era

The move is unusual because the government does not typically challenge so-called vertical mergers like this one, which do not involve the combination of direct competitors. Some have speculated the challenge stems from President Donald Trump’s stated disdain for Time Warner-owned CNN, which he has decried as “fake news.


Trump moves to slap duties on Chinese aluminum foil


How Jeff Sessions Plans to End Medical Marijuana Before the Year Is Over

Tears streamed down Claudia Jendron’s face this year as her doctor patted her hand and told her, after eight years of failed pain treatments for her spinal fusion-gone-wrong, “This is going to work, Claudia.” She was talking about medical marijuana.

For “eight years of hell,” Jendron tried opioids, epidural shots and acupuncture in the hopes that she’d be able to sit down or go to her grandchildren’s birthday parties without having to leave and lie down. None of it worked. At one point, she considered checking into an assisted living facility to receive morphine before she tried medical marijuana. 

Then, early this year, the 66-year-old upstate New Yorker got a prescription for medical marijuana to help what she called “excruciating pain.” To Jendron’s surprise, her doctor was right about the weed. Two days after starting a tincture (a liquid cannabis extract dropped under the tongue), her crushing pain subsided to something manageable. . . .

The text of the Rohrabacher-Farr (also known as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) Act, which blocked the U.S. Department of Justice from spending any money to prosecute medical marijuana in states where it’s legal. H.R. 2029 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushed back against the bill when he sent a strongly worded letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, asking them to oppose protections for legal weed and allow him to prosecute medical marijuana.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote in his letter.

So because crime is on the rise we need an intensified war on drugs?

And doesn’t this italicized sentence summarize everything that’s wrong with Sessions:

Sessions is known for being one of the nation’s toughest critics of legal pot. He once said the KKK was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” 

There is some deregulation occurring in areas like education and health care.  But I worry that there is too much focus on lowering regulations on business, and not enough on making markets freer.  For instance, in finance you can reduce regulations by reducing moral hazard, or you can reduce regulations by leaving the distorted regulations in place (FDIC, FHA, the GSEs, TBTF, etc.) and then free up banks to abuse the moral hazard created by that system even more than they currently do.  You can probably tell which type of “deregulation” I support.

When they start abolishing the Ex-Im Bank, Fannie and Freddie, Federal flood insurance, etc., then I’ll take the deregulation claim more seriously.  Right now I’m not impressed.  I worry that the Trump administration wants to make it easier for doctors and real estate developers and weapons makers and lots of other special interest groups to rip off the American public.  I worry that they want to increase regulations on legal immigrants struggling to stay in the country, or average people in pain who need medical marijuana, or small businesses who have their life savings seized by corrupt local cops.

Let’s try paring back regulations that cause distress for people on the bottom of society.  The upper class is already doing fine.




17 Responses to “Is Trump deregulating the economy?”

  1. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    25. November 2017 at 08:12

    Unfortunately (maybe fortunately) a lot, maybe most, regulatory barriers at the bottom end are state or local issues and the federal government can’t do much about it: occupational licensing, housing, many labor regulations. And I bet the FDIC would be a difficult sacred cow to slaughter.

  2. Gravatar of bill bill
    25. November 2017 at 08:22

    Winners need to make the rules fairer for everyone. Otherwise someone will flip the game over.

  3. Gravatar of Russ Abbott Russ Abbott
    25. November 2017 at 09:16

    Of course Trump has no intention of reducing market regulation. His one and only interest is in helping his family and friends richer and more powerful. Wasn’t that obvious from the start? I’m surprised you’re surprised.

  4. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    25. November 2017 at 11:19

    Just waiting for the freedom and liberty trolls to talk about how good Trump is. Anything he does can be excused because they love him.

  5. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. November 2017 at 13:14

    Sure, it’s not all sunshine and roses, but as the WSJ makes it clear, the Trump admin is, on net, a pro-deregulation administration:

    Sessions is somewhat too authoritarian for my tastes, but far from the worst.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    25. November 2017 at 14:58

    Russ, You said:

    “I’m surprised you’re surprised.”

    I’m surprised you assumed I was surprised when I gave absolutely no indication of being surprised.

    No wait, I’m not surprised.

  7. Gravatar of B Cole B Cole
    25. November 2017 at 16:02

    Agreed. Add on the subsidy-protection racket named the USDA. Fuel ethanol anyone?

  8. Gravatar of Alec Fahrin Alec Fahrin
    25. November 2017 at 16:50

    As a young man who grew up during the 2000s, I can’t help but think of fhe similarites between the George W. Bush Administration and the Trump Administration where “deregulation” of the second variety eventually led to a massive real estate bubble and ensuing financial collapse. Then again, the Clinton Administration had just as much of a hand in the anti-consumer deregulatory cookie jar.
    Are there actually any differences in moral hazard between 2007 and today? Were any of the causes of the Great Recession corrected during the last decade? The Dodd Frank fiasco? I don’t believe so, and it leaves me pessimistic for the near future.

  9. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    25. November 2017 at 18:04

    @Alec: the main differences between 2007 and now are far, far less leverage in the system and they fixed the mark to market rules on March 9, 2009 (the literal bottom of the bear market).

    Crises rarely recur the same way consecutively. Whatever the next crisis is, it will be different.

  10. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    25. November 2017 at 22:14


    What regulation repealed before the financial crisis would have prevented it? People blame deregulation in general, but never seem to be able connect specific dots. The amendment of Glass-Steagall can’t reasonably be blamed since it didn’t even apply to most of the worst financial institutions. Regulations like Dodd-Frank probably make TBTF worse. If anything I think there were regulations that we would’ve been better off without. The Recourse rule, for example, mandatory mark to market valuation, as msgkings noted.

    As I see it, when someone, say, eliminates price controls for a government sanctioned monopoly, the problem isn’t the ‘deregulation’; it’s that the deregulation didn’t go far enough and eliminate the government sanctioned monopoly too.

    Speaking of financial regulation, I wonder what Scott’s opinion is on the CFPB kerfuffle going on at the moment.

  11. Gravatar of Timothy Hopper Timothy Hopper
    26. November 2017 at 04:41

    The KKK smoke pot?!

    Wow, that explains some things.

    Still, can’t blame them I suppose, if that’s what they’ve got to do to avoid having Jeff Sessions as a member.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    26. November 2017 at 08:15

    Alec, You said:

    “I can’t help but think of the similarities between the George W. Bush Administration and the Trump Administration where “deregulation” of the second variety eventually led to a massive real estate bubble and ensuing financial collapse.”

    This is wrong. Home prices skyrocketed in dozens of countries at exactly the same time, countries where Bush was not President.

    Subprime loans, MBSs—it was all perfectly legal before Bush. I do agree with your second point about moral hazard, it’s just as bad today.

  13. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    26. November 2017 at 15:52

    If I ever went to look for someone to remove regulation overall, with little care of where or why, I’d never look for someone in real estate to lead the charge. Real estate wouldn’t be that great a business in a world of full deregulation: It’d be too competitive a business. Instead, Real Estate’s wet dream is the nightmare scenario for developmental economics, where the right developers use their government connections to make competition very difficult, and where the power of government can be used to obtain cheap land. Eminent domain, zoning changes, building roads straight through a competitor… Real estate is every crooked mayor’s retirement fund.

    Instead, I’d consider a tech billionaire. Most of them got their money by being completely deregulated in the first place, or being able to laugh at old regulations. This makes me think that we’ll be seeing a pro-deregulation democratic party, led by SV money, in the next decade or two, while the republicans keep pandering to low potential industries.

  14. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    26. November 2017 at 16:52

    Next up on this blogpost, the narrative that Hitler was a bad hombre will be critiqued on the basis that he once gave a birthday cake to a niece for a birthday.

    Checkmate Drumphftards


  15. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    26. November 2017 at 19:24

    OT, but in the ballpark.

    From Marcus Nunes, quoting Tim Duy:

    “We do not have much experience with an economy operating near full employment. This sounds odd, but generally the Fed kills the economy soon after reaching that point.”


    So riddle me this: We have a central bank that goes into squeamish hysterics even near full employment, and says today we are beyond full employment.

    Now, as an employee (which most people are), how should I evaluate economic policy-making in the US?

    If “free markets” can only prosper by creating a necessary buffer of unemployment, should I believe in free markets?

    The sad part is, it is very likely the Fed has been creating unemployment, but doing reduced inflation only marginally.

  16. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    27. November 2017 at 01:47

    Add on:

    Have central banks suffocated capital investment spending too? Thus leading to lower productivity?

    Why invest in new plant and equipment if the outlook is poor, and labor is cheap?

    In Japan:

    “TOKYO — Major Japanese companies sharply upgraded their plans for capital investment spending in fiscal 2017, by 15.8% from the year before, the largest increase since the peak of the country’s asset-inflated economy in 1990, a Nikkei survey showed on Saturday.”

    After a 20year economic winter, the Bank of Japan is finally getting Japan going again….

  17. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    27. November 2017 at 16:48

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