Sept. 26, 2018

Deregulation Costs $2.1 Trillion, $17,000 Per Household

Public Citizen Report Shows the Eye-Popping Economic Costs of Trump’s War on Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration’s reckless deregulation would deprive American consumers and the economy of more than $2.1 trillion in benefits, according to a Public Citizen report (PDF) released today. The report shows that the potential losses to the U.S. economy, consumers and workers far exceed any cost savings for regulated industries, highlighting how President Donald Trump’s unpopular war on regulation is the product of corporate lobbying rather than a serious effort to promote economic growth.

Public Citizen’s examination of 13 public protections repealed, delayed or targeted by the Trump administration found that, on average, more than $105 billion in benefits to society will be lost every year through 2040 if the rules are erased or replaced with toothless alternatives. These at-risk benefits will cost American households nearly $17,000 over the next two decades, or nearly $840 a year. These benefits far exceed the average annual costs of the rules, estimated at nearly $21 billion.

“Trump’s obsession with deregulation is a yuuuge tax on the same ordinary Americans he claims to represent,” said Alan Zibel, research director for Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project and author of the report. “Trump’s war on regulation will cost American households thousands over the next two decades, and that’s only if we ignore the damages to our well-being and safety that are impossible to quantify.”

Regulatory protections examined in the report include the clean car standards, the fiduciary rule, the energy efficient lightbulbs rule, the ozone rule and the overtime pay rule, among others. Public Citizen’s findings mostly use the same cost-benefit numbers developed by the Obama administration when the rules were proposed or enacted, rather than the dubious numbers used by the Trump administration to justify their repeals. In some cases, the analysis uses expert sources that calculate the benefits to consumers, rather than to the entire economy.

“When doing regulatory cost-benefit analysis, the Trump administration and its corporate allies almost always leave out the benefits side of the ledger – a brazenly dishonest approach designed to paint a badly distorted picture,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The truth is that deregulation is the real threat to our economy, as most Americans have experienced firsthand. Wall Street deregulation in the 1990s and 2000s led to the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, which cost Americans up to $14 trillion and killed almost 9 million jobs.”

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