Just How Big is the Federal Regulatory Beast?

Monday, July 16th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Economy

Share with your friends

It’s incontrovertibly clear that we are suffering through the most protracted period of economic stagnation since the Great Depression.  GDP growth, joblessness,  housing prices, and retail sales have never been this dismal so far after the end of a recession.  So why is the economy not recovering?  Aside for the big ticket items, such as Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, and the uncertainty surrounding Obama’s tax cliff at the end of the here, here is a macro look at the regulatory behemoth, as presented by the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

  • 84 new final rules were published last week, down from 71 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation precisely every 2 hours — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All in all, 2,144 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 4,024 new rules.
  • 1,412 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 40,596 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 75,178 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 25 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $14.5 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.
  • No economically significant rule was published last week.
  • So far, 216 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
  • So far this year, 386 final rules affect small businesses. 59 of them are significant rules.

We will never recover unless this albatross around the collective necks of business owners is lifted.  Mitt Romney must commit to a moratorium on all new regulations and an audit of all regulations implemented over the Bush and Obama years.