With the full participation and consent of Congress, President Trump has embarked upon a radical project to freeze and roll back federal regulations that protect public health, safety, the environment, and the economy. The principal justification for this project, publicly announced by both Congress and President Trump, is the claim that regulations are costing the American economy $2 trillion per year, thereby destroying jobs. This claim derives from two studies that have received wide and credulous circulation in the media, on Capitol Hill, and in the White House.Ecology Law Quarterly
This Article accordingly undertakes a comprehensive evaluation of these two studies. It will show that their methods are deeply flawed and their results far too weakly grounded to serve as the basis for a major policy shift. It also will examine the techniques used in these studies to give un-grounded numbers the veneer of credibility. The goal of this exercise is to equip the lay reader with insights needed to spot similar deceptions in the future.