The reporting on Trump's regulatory reform really fell down big time. The Trump administration has been boasting about $23 billion in savings over the indefinite future. As this Bloomberg article points out, this comes to $1.64 billion per year.

What this and other articles neglect to mention is that this is not net savings. This figure is the savings to the person subject to the regulation, for example, the homeowner who wants to dump their sewage on their neighbor's lawn rather than putting in place a proper septic system or getting hooked up to the city sewage system. The savings to the homeowner are likely more than offset by the damage to their neighbor's property.

The Trump administration has calculated savings that only look at the benefits to corporations in the position of the homeowner. It has not attempted to incorporate the costs of the harm done to others for example by having more polluted air or water.

It would also be useful to put the projected savings in some context since few people have a good idea of how much $1.64 billion annually means to the economy or their pocketbook. This figure is equal to a bit more than 0.005 percent of GDP or a bit more than $5 per person per year. It less than 0.5 percent of the additional money that patients must pay to drug companies each year because of government-granted patent monopolies and related protections.

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