To his credit, President Trump signed an executive order on May 19 to encourage federal regulatory agencies to remove regulations hindering the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal, state, and local officials have already removed more than 500 regulations from the books in recent weeks.
The Food and Drug Administration lifted restrictions on telemedicine, enabling millions of people to check in with their doctors without risking virus exposure, for example. The FDA has also promised drastically accelerated approval for coronavirus treatments as scientists develop them. And local authorities across the country waived permitting requirements for restaurants to offer delivery to customers who were unable to dine in.
Now is the time to continue that process and speed it up. There has been plenty of talk about how the pandemic demonstrates the need for more government, but the advantages that can come from regulatory relaxation suggest that, on the contrary, it has made the case for rather less.
As it is, Washington’s response to the COVID-19 crisis so far has fallen short. Hasty “flash policy” has sprinted through Congress with little debate, costing trillions of dollars and likely with limited economic impact. The new executive order’s proposed actions on regulation send a positive signal at a time when it is desperately needed.