Tag Archives: Correspondence

The Myth of Bush the Deregulator

Here’s a letter I sent recently to The New York Times:

May 14, 2010

Editor, The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

To the Editor:

Your May 12 article “With Obama, Regulations Are Back in Fashion” (page A15) asserts that the Bush administration had a “deregulatory agenda.” If that is true, then President Bush failed miserably in executing it.

His administration added 31,634 new regulations to the books, and repealed hardly any. The cost of complying with federal regulations exceeded $1 trillion for the first time on Bush’s watch. 587,321 new pages were added to Federal Register during the Bush years.*

Even the regulation-intensive Obama administration is passing new regulations at a pace nearly ten percent slower than President Bush.

Contrary to the article, the Bush administration was the best friend regulators have had in a generation or more.

Ryan Young
Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, DC

*All data from Wayne Crews, Ten Thousand Commandments.


I Get Hate Mail

A reader sent the following email to Wayne Crews and I in response to our article that ran in today’s AOL News. My reply follows.

Your vague double-talk would likely indicate that you are republican. The final statement in your opening paragraph seems to insinuate that the current administration (democrats) will escalate the already enormous number of federal regulations. If my recollection is correct, Clinton was the last president to really chisel away at some of this, and not only balanced the budget, but facilitated a surplus. Republicans, led by the renegade Bush, put us into a war, based on COMPLETE LIES which is the true base of the current enormous deficit. (Oh, and by the way, lots of Bush affiliates made a fortune over in Iraq. Hhmm?) This along with the deregulation pushed thru by the republican-controlled congress during the Clinton administration (giving banks ridiculously dangerous new powers) led to the economic CRASH of our current RECESSION (to put it lightly) – not to mention the crazy policies of the Federal Reserve and lack of oversight by the SEC during Bush’s DESPOTIC REIGN. The bail-outs pushed by Bush as he was leaving office and the subsequent pressured NECESSITY for Obama to continue in the same vein was certainly NOT the fault of the democrats. They were forced to deal with the CRAP left behind by the republicans, or face complete collapse of our entire economy. Bush and the republicans are the crazy lying right wing bigots that have the Christian right SNOWED. They could not care less about righteousness. They simply coddle the Christian right to get their votes with issues like Anti-Abortion and Anti-Gay-Marriage. The members of the early Church (followers of Christ after His death) sold everything and everyone put all their wealth together, and each was given as was needed (sort of like SOCIALISM or even COMMUNISM). The dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest stance of the republican party, supported by the Christian right, could not be any further from the system of the original followers of Christ, His Church.

I sent him this reply:

[Name redacted] – Thanks for writing. I am actually an independent. So is Wayne. I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, am pro-gay marriage and pro-choice, I oppose the drug war and the PATRIOT Act, and I favor separation of church and state. It would be quite a stretch to call me a Republican. I share your negative opinion of Bush, and am proud that I never voted for him.

One point of correction, though: Bush and his fellow Republicans didn’t deregulate a thing. In fact, more than 30,000 new regulations hit the books on his watch! You can check the data for yourself in Wayne’s new study at http://www.cei.org/10kc/.

With 157,000 pages of regulations on the books from 59 different federal departments, it is quite difficult to even find a free market to blame for our troubles. That’s why there’s a growing consensus in the economic literature that decades of federal interventions into the housing market was a major cause of the recession.

All the best,


UPDATE: My correspondent replied with a very kind mea culpa this morning (4/16). He originally wrote in a fit of anger, and now retracts calling Wayne and I Republicans. Seems like a nice guy, actually.