President Obama has outdone all of the former presidents when it comes to regulations. The Wall Street Journal reported that in the year 2013 26,417 pages of “final rules” were added to the federal register – a new record. And that’s just the beginning. Obama’s probably proud of this “accomplishment” but it isn’t good for the economy.
The latest rule-making tally comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Wayne Crews, who on April 29 will publish his annual review of federal regulation in “Ten Thousand Commandments.” This is important work because politicians and the media treat regulation as a largely cost-free public good. Mr. Crews knows better.
Congress may be mired in gridlock, but the federal bureaucracy is busier than ever. In 2013 the Federal Register contained 3,659 “final” rules, which means they now must be obeyed, and 2,594 proposed rules on their way to becoming orders from political headquarters.
The Federal Register finished 2013 at 79,311 pages, the fourth highest total in history. That didn’t match President Obama’s 2010 all-time record of 81,405 pages. But Mr. Obama can console himself by noting that of the five highest Federal Register page counts, four have occurred on his watch. The other was 79,435 pages under President George W. Bush in 2008.
And the feds aren’t letting up. Mr. Crews reports that there are another 3,305 regulations moving through the pipeline on their way to being imposed. One hundred and ninety-one of those are “economically significant” rules, which are defined as having costs of at least $100 million a year. Keep in mind that the feds routinely low-ball their cost estimates so the public will continue to think regulation is free. (Read More)
The price tag for all of these regulations – a whopping $1.9 trillion a year! Crews estimated that the cost per household is $14,974 annually. No wonder Americans feel so poor.