President Donald Trump’s Cabinet is more conservative than President Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet was in the 1980s, a top official with the American Conservative Union declared during a Thursday panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Addressing fellow panelists and hundreds of conservative activists gathered at the annual conference, Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, said Reagan’s Cabinet was “not nearly as conservative” as Trump’s is.
“Trump’s Cabinet is the most conservative” of any administration in recent memory, Schneider said.
Schneider was the moderator of a CPAC panel titled “Do Not Pass Go! How Government is Killing Capitalism.” He was joined by Jim Burnley, former U.S. secretary of transportation; lawyer and physician Greg Dolin, a senior fellow at the American Conservative Union; and Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.
Burnley, who served in the Reagan administration, said the comparison between Trump and Reagan “is not perfect” since Trump has been in office only for one year.
But he and fellow panelists agreed that the Trump administration has made significant progress in rolling back government regulations.
Burnley cited a 1916 rule that prevented states from purchasing highway safety devices as an example of counterproductive regulations. He said he anticipates that the Trump administration “will be sympathetic” to a petition, already submitted, asking it to rescind the rule.
Schneider described the 102-year-old federal regulation as the “horse and buggy rule.”
Vice President Mike Pence, who took the stage after the panel, said Trump has “repealed 22 regulations for every new rule that has been put up.”
On the subject of capitalism, Schatz expressed concern that the federal government was intruding upon the $150 billion sports gambling industry. Anyone who is taking part in bets associated with “March Madness” technically is engaging in an illegal activity, he observed.
Schatz was sharply critical of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and praised New Jersey for challenging the law at the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision in favor of New Jersey could affect 32 states.
Despite the persistent media caricature of capitalism as a system where “the most evil person wins,” in reality “capitalism is the greatest antidote to poverty the world has ever seen,” Schneider said. “Capitalism is the economic expression of conservatism.”
Schneider also warned against policies that allow the government “to pick winners and losers” and intrude upon economic freedom.
Dolin described government regulations that undermine consumer choice as “highly peculiar.” Although certain substances such as tobacco can be harmful, Dolin said, “it’s a problem when the government decides what products to take and what foods to eat.”
CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs Thursday to Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.