Good news in the new year

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As this most unusual year ends, it is easy to shudder at the alarming list of what remains wrong in the world and lose hope. We say goodbye to 2021 with, among other things, a deadly pandemic still raging, critical civil rights protections under an increasing threat, the environment besieged, and a vengeful Donald Trump at large. However, although New Year’s Day is a milestone on the calendar, treating it as an artificial deadline for what we have yet to accomplish feeds that lurking, hungry beast known as defeatism.

Throughout 2021, Palmer Report has highlighted the many achievements gained so far under the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress through the remarkable Democratic leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. As an additional way of staying attuned to what is getting accomplished as we head into 2022, consider bookmarking an informative online resource known as the “Reg Tracker.”

The Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets created the Reg Tracker (which you can access here) to provide status updates on the most important federal regulatory changes. The Reg Tracker monitors progress, big and small, that often receives little press. No matter how this progress is accomplished—by repealing hurtful, foolish Trump rules or taking new, sensible action through regulations, executive orders, departmental guidance, and more—the Reg Tracker offers facts to remind us that we are moving forward on many fronts.

As just one example, near the end of Trump’s failed term, his administration finalized a rule claiming to standardize the criteria for benefit-cost analyses under the Clean Air Act. The problem is that Trump’s rule required that analyses of subsequent rules must consider all indirect costs yet ignore indirect “co-benefits.” In May, the Biden administration released an interim final rule to rescind this underhanded attempt to destroy the planet. Trump’s rule was quietly wiped off the books on June 14, which happens to be the earth-hating ogre’s birthday.


We have gained much over the past year, especially considering where we would be had a second Trump term along with a Republican-controlled Congress become our reality. That said, our work is of course far from over as we inch closer to November’s critical midterm elections. I wish you all a happy New Year and the best of health—and when defeatism comes knocking at our doors in 2022, let us resolve to ignore it.

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