Trump's cartoon comedy approach to running a country: 'One in, two out' rule for regulations

What else do you expect from a glorified hotel manager?

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US President Donald Trump has emitted another executive order: this latest one is aimed at reducing the number of government regulations.

The order, signed Monday morning, requires that for every new regulation introduced by government officials, two existing regulations must be taken off the books.

"Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed," the order reads.

President Trump, a billionaire businessman, believes a mountain of government red tape is imposing rising costs on other billionaires' businesses, and is bloating public spending – and he wants to put a stop to it.

"In addition to the management of the direct expenditure of taxpayer dollars through the budgeting process, it is essential to manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations," the order states.

The executive order goes on to say that, unless required by law, the new regulations cannot add costs to department budgets – such as salaries for new positions – unless they are offset by savings from eliminating other regulations.

Presumably that's there to, in part, potentially prevent officials from tying the "eliminated" regulations in as provisions in the new regulation, essentially tacking the seemingly sacrificial rules onto the new rule so they can remain in place.

The order will not apply to "regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States."

The latest declaration will hardly come as a surprise from a Trump White House that campaigned in large part on the promise of small government and the elimination of many federal regulatory requirements. The President had vowed to wipe three quarters of all government regulations off the books.

As with most things Trump does these days, the move was met with skepticism to derision: it appears the loosely defined order will be difficult to put into action. Regulations aren't like commandments chiseled on a tablet or some other list that you can just cross lines out. "This is how children think government regulation works," sighed Michael Cohen, a Boston Globe columnist.

Bruce Bartlett, a former aide to Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush, described it as the "stupidest executive order in history."

While the lifting of government restrictions will be welcomed by telcos, corporate giants and venture-funded upstarts, another proposed executive order will likely get a much colder reception in Silicon Valley. A draft version of an upcoming executive order seeks to place further limits on the number of H-1B visas granted.

The proposed order would further restrict the number of work visas that companies could obtain to bring in overseas workers and, in the case of many outsourcing firms, would force "wholesale changes" to their business model.

Meanwhile, the White House is mulling asking foreign visitors to America for lists of websites they've visited, their social media accounts and cell phone contacts – an apparent extension to rules set in motion by President Obama. ®


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