Saturday, October 25th, 2014

The long tradition of presidents cutting red tape

Presidents often say they are cutting red tape.
Presidents often say they are cutting red tape.

The Obama administration announced the first round of changes designed to streamline regulation and save money on Aug. 23, 2011.

Cass Sunstein, chief of regulations at the Office of Management and Budget said that the savings from the changes "are likely to exceed $10 billion."

The biggest changes will be made by the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation and will save an estimated $4 billion over five years, according to the administration. The changes include simplifying and improving hazard warnings for workers without compromising safety, the administration says.

Changes to reporting requirements for hospitals and other health care providers will save another $4 billion over five years, according to the Office of Management and Budget., with changes at  the Internal Revenue Service and accelerated payments to small businesses that contract with the Defense Department making up the balance.

The announcement was a follow-up on earlier remarks by President Obama about the need to improve regulation. In a press conference in June, the president made expansive claims about what he was doing. "What I have done -- and this is unprecedented, by the way; no administration has done this before -- is I've said to each agency, 'Don't just look at current regulations or don't just look at future regulations, regulations that we're proposing. Let's go backwards and look at regulations that are already on the books and if they don't make sense, let's get rid of them.'"

Or not. A look through history reveals that all modern presidents claim to cut regulations. We rated Obama's statement False.