Slashing Regulations to Combat Coronavirus


The coronavirus is battering the U.S economy as businesses cut back and close down. Unfortunately, federal policymakers are pursuing their usual misguided response to all crises—passing a big stimulus bill that will accomplish little except putting the government further into debt. After the financial crisis a decade ago, Congress passed an $800 billion stimulus and we suffered the slowest recovery since World War II.

Government spending to boost demand won’t help the economy when supply chain disruptions and safety fears are restricting production. Rather than stimulate demand, governments should repeal regulations that aren’t in place for legitimate safety reasons.

These articles point to regulations that are being repealed, or should be repealed, to aid the crisis response. Many of the regulations are unneeded even if there were no crisis. CEI, ATRCNN, and Walter Olson have compiled similar lists.

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, bureaucracy and regulatory bottlenecks amplified the damage. Let’s hope that governments have learned the lesson and move quickly to repeal rules that stand in way of rapid and efficient private‐​sector responses.

Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the CATO Institute and editor of He is a top expert on federal and state tax and budget issues. Before joining Cato, Edwards was a senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and an economist with the Tax Foundation.

Used with permission of the Cato Institute / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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