Ten Thousand Commandment is the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) annual survey of the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations, and how the U.S. regulatory burden affects American consumers, businesses, and the economy. It exposes the large and growing “hidden tax” of America’s regulatory state.
The 2017 report reveals:
- Regulatory compliance and economic impacts of federal intervention costs $1.9 trillion annually.
- Washington agencies spent $63 billion in fiscal year 2016 to administer the federal regulatory state. Adding the $1.9 trillion in off-budget compliance costs brings the total reckoned regulatory enterprise to about $1.963 trillion.
- If U.S. regulation was a country, it would be the world’s seventh-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy.
- The estimated cost of regulation is equivalent to half the level of federal spending, which was $3.854 trillion in 2016.
- Regulatory costs of $1.9 trillion amount to 10 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, which was estimated at $18.861 trillion in 2016 by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
- When regulatory costs are combined with federal FY 2016 outlays of $3.854 trillion, the federal government’s share of the entire economy reaches 30 percent (not including state and local spending and regulation).
- During calendar year 2016, Congress enacted 214 laws, whereas agencies issued 3,853 rules. Thus, 18 rules were issued for every law enacted. This “Unconstitutionality Index”—the ratio of regulations issued by agencies to laws passed by Congress and signed by the President—highlights the delegation of lawmaking power to unelected agency officials. The average for the past decade has been 27.
- If one assumes that all costs of federal regulation and intervention flowed all the way down to households, U.S. households would “pay” $14,809 annually on average in a regulatory hidden tax. That amounts to 21 percent of the average income of $69,629 and 26.45 percent of the expenditure budget of $55,978. The “tax” exceeds every item in the budget except housing. More is “spent” on embedded regulation than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, and apparel.
- Of the 3,318 regulations in the pipeline, 193 are “economically significant” rules, which the federal government defines as having annual effects on the economy of $100 million or more.
- The five most active rulemaking entities—the Departments of the Treasury, the Interior, Transportation, Commerce, and the Environmental Protection Agency—account for 1,428 rules, or 43 percent of all federal regulations under consideration.
- Public notices in the Federal Register normally exceed 24,000 annually, with uncounted guidance documents and other proclamations with potential regulatory effect among them. There were 24,557 notices in 2016. There have been 550,489 public notices since 1994 and well over a million since the 1970s.
- The 2016 Federal Register contains 95,894 pages, the highest level in its history and 19 percent higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.
- Last year, the Obama administration averaged 86 “major” rules, a 36 percent higher average annual output than that of President George W. Bush. President Obama issued 685 major rules during his term, compared with Bush’s 505.
So far, according to CEI, President Trump has reduced the Federal Register by 32 percent.
According to the American Action Forum (AAF):
The Economist reports:
The straightforward motivation for Republicans’ deregulatory agenda is their disdain for President Barack Obama’s legacy, much of which was installed through regulatory fiat. The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, required bureaucrats to write thousands of pages of new rules; the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill did the same. When legislation was not forthcoming, the executive branch threw its weight around instead. It asserted that the Clean Air Act gave it wide-ranging powers to fight climate change, and that the Clean Water Act let it clean up many more ponds and rivers than ever before. It expanded mandatory overtime pay for workers on low salaries. It banned telecom firms from favouring any one type of internet traffic. And its ‘fiduciary rule,’ set to come into force in April, will force investment advisers to act in the best interests of their clients. Republicans hate all this, saying Mr. Obama’s fondness for red tape has crushed the economy. His regulations were, on the whole, bigger and bolder than what had come before … Sometimes they rested on uncertain legal ground.