Issues & Insights

Biden’s Worst Executive Order Went Almost Entirely Unnoticed

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I&I Editorial

In the flurry of President Joe Biden’s executive orders was one that was almost entirely overlooked but could easily end up having the biggest impact.

The order also seems harmless enough, going by the seemingly innocent title “Modernizing Regulatory Review.” Except this order isn’t about modernizing regulations. It’s about unleashing the regulatory state with a ferocity never before seen in this country.

Biden’s order – which didn’t get released to the press until late in the evening of his first day – aims to effectively toss the cost-benefit analysis that for many decades has served as at least a modest brake on the ambitions of regulators. In the past, regulations where the cost of compliance far exceeded the benefits could be stymied by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Biden wants the review process instead to be “a tool to affirmatively promote regulations” and “to ensure swift and effective federal action” on everything from the pandemic, to the economy, to racial inequality, to the “undeniable reality and accelerating threat of climate change.” In other words … everything.

Clyde Wayne Crews, a regulation expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that Biden’s order is “likely to do away with cost-benefit analysis by elevating unquantifiable aims as benefits and deny costs of regulation altogether.” In doing so, it will “put weight on the scales of whether or not to regulate such that the answer will always be in the affirmative.”

The leftist Huffington Post cheered the news, calling Biden’s order “game changing” and saying “the memo could unleash a wave of stronger regulations to reduce income inequality, fight climate change and protect public health. Among left-leaning experts on regulation, it’s a signal that Biden could break with 40 years of conservative policy.”

The site quoted James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform, who said “I realize what I’m about to say to you sounds absurd. It has the potential to be the most significant action Biden took on day one.” 

Biden took other actions to re-regulate the economy, including issuing an order revoking various policies President Donald Trump put in place, such as the order that regulators eliminate two regulations for every new one enacted.

One of Trump’s biggest – unsung – achievements in the White House was his effort to rein in the regulatory state. A lifelong businessman, Trump understood – in a way lifelong politicians cannot – the avalanche of regulations that fall on a business and the enormous costs they impose. One of his very first actions was the two-for-one order.

CEI’s Crews says that Trump actually exceeded that goal, with agencies getting rid of 4.3 rules for every new one.

The Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers calculated that the deregulatory measures taken over the past four years saved households an average of $3,100 a year. And while there’s some debate over the extent of the benefits from Trump’s efforts, the undeniable fact is that he slowed the regulatory current.

Even so, the regulatory state today imposes $1.9 trillion in costs, according to CEI. That is an enormous hidden tax on families. In fact, if our regulatory state were a country, it would be bigger than Canada’s entire economy. The idea that we are getting more than $1.9 trillion in health and safety benefits from these rules is laughable.

Unfortunately, with this one executive order, Biden shows that he’s intent on giving regulators carte blanche to impose massive new rules on businesses and households, on virtually anything and everything they do, regardless of costs. There’s little else Biden has done so far that will have as wide-ranging an impact.

Throughout the presidential campaign, we warned that Biden was hiding his agenda from voters because it was far more extremist than he let on. Now that he’s safely in the White House, he is taking the wrappings off.

We hate to say we told you so, but we told you so.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

46 comments

  • The voters got what they wanted, now they can sit back and watch their wallets get fleeced, as all the costs inflicted by the government onto businesses will trickle into the voters pockets.

      • We can only sit by and helplessly watch as our country gets destroyed. Maybe something will be left for us to salvage when the left is done. I’m not overly optimistic. But picking up the pieces of our once great country is about all we can hope for at this point…… buckle up….. they are just getting started.

    • We will soon see if perhaps there actually were enough voters to elect Joe Biden. Mericopa County will be under scrutiny in a few days by auditors brought in by the Arizona House. We will soon see the truth.

  • This seems like an over-read of this executive order. I’m generally against more regulation, but the order itself seems to just set up a review process not change anything. This definitely bears watching, though. Removing the cost-benefit analysis aspect in favor of social justice concerns, etc. would be extremely bad for economic growth (which is itself included as the second factor listen in his order for concern.)

    • Social justice is just words (or favorite media chant…”dog whistle) that has nothing to do with real justice. It’s not based in any improving lives of Amerucans it’s rather instilled in the notion that those who have more than you must be crooks, evil and most of all white. To use justice rather than actual facts partnered with cost-benefit it’s not just at all. Regulations in the last have become so burdensome and radical they don’t make sense and the only people happy with this type of strangulation are radicals who support and dream of Marxist/ socialism/ communism thinking it will level the playing. It dosen’t do anything if the sort, it will rush absolute control of our lives/ businesses in the hands of power hungry and in some cases persons who actually Hate America.

    • “Social justice” is a contradiction in terms. It is an evil ideology, punishing or benefiting people due to a politically disfavored or favored group they beling to. The former is, of course, collective punishment and would be contrary to the Geneva convention in war, a war crime.

  • Boy, oh boy, can’t wait for all those regulations (that Trump eliminated) so I can pay more for everything I buy .

  • We have to stop assigning the name of a puppet president non-elect to all these horrific executive orders. He’s just the pen, nothing more. He barely knows what he’s signing. All these EO’s are being written by the USCP, not a cardboard cutout. It doesn’t matter who the president is, except for the last one they’re all controlled by parties who have no interest in the US or it’s real citizens.

  • I need to move out of this country! I was going to move to Jamaica, but their economy has slowed and I may not be able to get a work permit at this point. Maybe I should move to Great Britain? I’m not sure. I’ve thought about Canada, but I really see Canada going the same way America has.

    • Are you kidding? GB is already farther left than Canada. A Conservative in GB is like a moderate Dem here. I’d wait a few years before I went anywhere.

    • Your move must be postponed. Canada closed its border until at least 2/21/2021 and the UK remains in a shut down and travel is very limited. Trudeau is taking Canada in a direction you will not like. Maybe Poland or Hungary as they recently reinforced concepts of free speech and other freedoms.

  • Thank the idiot Democrat voters and thank the local Democrats who know the details of the election fraud.
    Ask them why they are supporting corruption.

  • Climate change and systemic racism are two hoaxes designed to divide people into warring camps, raise taxes and relieve people of their freedom.

  • We haven’t seen anything yet. Bidet is just opening the door. Once he is determined to be unfit because of health/mental issues, and Cameltoe takes over, THEN you will see the radical left really kick into high hear. Bank on it.

  • Regulate everything, except Wall St., big tech, unions and, of course, China. Got to keep the hand that feeds happy says, Uncle Joe.

  • Some of us voted for these changes. Some didn’t.
    All have to live with more restrictions and higher cost of goods.
    All dictated by unelected regulatory officials, answerable to nobody.
    The upside is Democrats won’t be in charge of some things after the elections in 2022.

    • The President and his pen doesn’t get replaced until 2024. Not sure I see how a possibly republican house or senate will pump the brakes on the EO actions and the unelected bureaucrats.

    • and why do you think they won’t be in charge. They gotten away with one stolen election, what makes you think that won’t be the new normal?

  • It’s likely not true that this is the greatest regulatory storm to ever have been unleashed on the country. Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Agency was arguably worse.

    It all came undone when the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S government could not regulate prices, causing Roosevelt to seriously consider packing the court.

  • Why do you keep saying that Biden did this and Biden did that. We know Biden doesn’t know what he is signing. He barely knows where he is. Who is putting these in front of him to sign?

  • Of course it’s going to eliminate income inequality when everyone is poor, except the ruling class. Racial inequality, I guess when we are all slaves then we are all equal then huh?

  • I do not believe he has read or even knows a little of the content of the avalanche of executive orders he’s signed. He even said, before signing one of them “I don’t know what I’m signing.” We knew he is a puppet before he was the nominee.

  • Lets look at one trump deregulation that will concern anybody reading this.

    Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must not discriminate or charge differential by user, content, or website. In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued the Open Internet Order, a set of regulations intending to move toward the establishment of Net Neutrality.

    On November 10, 2014, President Obama urged the FCC to protect Net Neutrality by reclassifying internet service under Title II. On February 26, 2015, the FCC voted 3-2 to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers, thereby preserving Net Neutrality. The rule was finalized on April 13, 2015, and became effective June 12, 2015.

    The U.S. Telecom Association proceeded to file suit, but on June 14, 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the rule. On December 14, 2017, the FCC, headed by Chairman Ajit Pai, a trump appointee, voted 3-2 to repeal Net Neutrality.

  • I keep thinking: “Maybe this will wake up the average American”. But it never does. If the 8 years of Obama stagnation, immediately followed by 4 years of Trump’s booming economy, didn’t wake them up, what will? Maybe, reeducation camps for the lefts political enemies? Somehow I expect the typical voter will be cheering this. After all these Trump supporters are “domestic terrorists” and “insurrectionists” after all. God help us all. I feel like I’m living in NAZI Germany. I’m sitting by helplessly watching my country being destroyed. And largely being destroyed by complete idiots.

  • I work for a government agency that discovered it was spending about $400K/year to recover $30K in phone costs. They were able to stop that practice then. Not so sure they would be able to with this new ruling. 🙁

  • worse than the fleecing of the citizens? the “sale” of the US to the CCP? the using the Constitution to wipe his Communist ass on?

  • Biden should be required to explain every EO and how it betters us. Then take questions from all sides. If he can’t, it is tossed out. He is incompetent thus he has no idea what he is signing and it’s effects. He should also be required to show his EO doesn’t conflict with federal and state laws and is constitutional.

  • Biden proving that the Democrats are dictators and care nothing about the country and its people.

  • Joe Biden is acting like his shelf life is about to expire. Maybe he knows something we currently haven’t been able to prove yet.

  • Why are you running interviews from Sept ,2020 as new news today on Feh 1, 2021 !!!! Geesh!

  • Donald Trump not only recognized that the bureaucracy and the gigantic regulatory mess stymying and damaging the proper functioning of the private sector and the fair administration of the public sector was harmful to the country as a whole and tried to do something about it.

    Of course, the Democrats, the primary denizens of the U.S, swamp, corrupt to the bone, and in league with the bureaucratic monster they created over many years, were sure to make every effort to undo Trump’s good work, and to make the mess even worse.

    Great article.

  • Congress must immediately reverse Biden’s EO eliminating the cost vs benefit rule for regulatory agencies. No agency of government should be allowed to ignore the cost vs benefit of any regulation. Congress itself must follow this rule when deciding on any new law.

  • The Republic is slipping away into oblivion. It has been doing so for the last 50 years, but the pace is accelerating now. It should be alarming to many, but it’s not alarming to most because of the extreme apathy of The Electorate. The old adage is true in any case: The Electorate always gets what they deserve.

  • Biden is a bad joke on America. He couldn’t run a McDonalds. He is a fake. And, a liar. And, he cheated and committed fraud during the election. Democrats are evil and a cancer on the American people.

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