by Bob Barr
It has become commonplace for the Left to go into fits of conniption over things said by President Trump or in response to actions he takes. The latest Democrat outrage against the administration, responding to the president’s moves to weaken the federal Nanny State, however, is worth noting.
What makes this most recent administration initiative especially delightful, is that Trump is turning one of the Democrats’ favorite aphorisms back against them: “You should never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Whether Clinton insider Rahm Emanuel coined the phrase or was simply quoting Winston Churchill, who is alleged to have said this decades earlier, modern leftists have taken the maxim to heart.
Virtually every major crisis our country has confronted in recent years has prompted moves for greater and more costly government involvement in the economy. This has been the case whether the emergencies we face are man-made, such as the 2008 recession, or birthed by Mother Nature as was the case with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, spawned by the novel coronavirus, clearly is no exception.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cadre of liberal and ultra-liberal federal legislators, and their mainstream media mouthpieces, have not for a moment let up in their calls for federal spending and regulatory mandates as the essential tools with which to defend against the virus. In fact, they have become increasingly extreme. The left-wing Guardian recently was moved to declare that the pandemic presents the perfect scenario to “make a greener world.”
It is no exaggeration to conclude that for many on the left, including the prominent New York socialist, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the COVID pandemic is considered the crisis by which to de-modernize America and, indeed, the entire world.
Into this scenario has stepped Donald Trump, who last week declared it the official policy of his Administration to use deregulation as fuel for our economic revitalization. The contrast with his Democrat counterparts — whether Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer at the federal level, or Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsome at the state level – could not be starker.
Where Trump aims to spur economic recovery by loosening the regulatory Gordian knot that for decades has served to hamper innovation and weaken economic growth, Democrats believe fervently that our economy remains insufficiently regulated, and that more is needed to defend against the COVID pandemic.
Trump’s strategy for deregulatory stimulus was formally set out in an Executive Order issued just last week. Judging by the howls of dismay the Order elicited from the mainstream media, academics, and liberal think tanks, one easily could conclude that the president was proposing something as radical as returning the United States to the gold standard (actually not a bad idea, but that is a topic for another day). Judged according to the standards of today’s politics, however, the principles in the March 19th White House document could indeed be considered radical. For example, the president declared:
- Regulations are to be enforced fairly and consistently.
- The overarching goal of federal regulations in this pandemic-restrained era, ought to be to bring our economy back to full strength.
- Economic recovery achieved through “non-regulatory actions” is preferable to the heavy hand of regulatory edicts.
- “Good faith” efforts at compliance by regulated industries should be encouraged rather than punished.
- Federal regulatory “guidance” should be just that – guidance, not mandate.
- The burden of proof for regulatory violations is to be borne by the government.
- Rules of enforcement must be “public, clear, and effective” and penalties, where warranted, should be “proportionate, transparent and . . . consistent.”
- Government no longer will engage in games of regulatory gotcha.
It is a telling indictment of how far to the left today’s Democratic Party has swung, that these reasonable, common-sense measures should be considered frightening and tyrannical — which makes it all the more crucial that Trump succeed in implementing them.