Feb. 26, 2018

White House Report Makes the Case for Regulation: Shows Health, Safety, Environmental Protections Are a Great Investment

Statement of Amit Narang, Regulatory Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Late Friday evening, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget released its latest draft report (PDF) on the costs and benefits of regulations – showing up to $833 billion in NET benefits over the past decade and benefits reaching as much as 12 times the costs.

This report fundamentally undercuts the justification for President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda by showing that the benefits of federal regulation in protecting public health and safety as well as our environment and economy significantly outweigh the costs to corporations.

Every year that the government has calculated the costs and benefits of federal regulations, it always has shown that health, safety and environmental protections are one of the best investments we can make – with returns on investment that would make Fortune 500 companies jealous. These results are even more compelling given that the cost-benefit methodology used in this report habitually overstates compliance costs and understates the less tangible but very real benefits of regulatory safeguards.

So it is not surprising that the administration missed the deadline for releasing this report by months and then sought to avoid media and public attention by releasing it late Friday evening. This administration has sought to avoid discussing or even acknowledging the benefits of regulatory protections at every turn, beginning with Trump’s reckless “one-in, two-out” executive order that forces agencies to get rid of existing protections before putting new ones in place. In numerous cost-benefit analyses, the administration has dramatically lowered expected benefits in highly questionable fashion when rolling back regulatory protections. And in other instances, the administration simply has refused to release economic analysis showing the benefits of protections targeted for repeal.

Despite the administration’s attempts to muddy the waters, the public will not be fooled and the data is clear: Americans will pay a steep price for Trump’s deregulatory agenda.