Regulatory Reform

May 11, 1984

Report Outline
Administrative Action
Growth of Rule Making
Momentum Slowed
Special Focus

Administrative Action

Reagan's Pledge to Trim Big Government

Ronald reagan swept into washington three and one-half years ago pledging to “get government off the backs” of business and the American people through “regulatory reform.” Since then, Reagan has cut back both the number of new regulations and the paperwork federal regulations generally entail, rescinded some rules in effect when he took office and continued the deregulation of specific economic sectors such as transportation.

But federal health, safety and environmental laws, the primary target of Reagan's regulatory reform promise, remain largely unchanged. As a consequence, critics say, the administration has eased the regulatory impact by reducing enforcement. And in recent months there has been a backlash to some of the actions the administration has taken. Federal courts have overturned several efforts to rescind or amend regulations. And in the absence of federal regulation, states have enacted their own rules to protect consumers and workers from various health hazards.

“It's no secret that we haven't done as well as we would have liked to reform health, safety and environmental laws,” said Christopher DeMuth, head of the administration's regulatory reform efforts at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). “Thank goodness they haven't been able to do more,” declared Joan Claybrook, head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration during Jimmy Carter's presidency. Claybrook now directs Public Citizen, a group that has opposed many of the administration's efforts to loosen health and safety regulations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Budget and the Economy
Regulation and Deregulation