Report: Total Regulatory Burden Hits $1.8 trillion Annually

May 22, 2013

$1.8 trillion buys a lot of red tape.

That’s how much the federal regulatory machine is costing Americans each year, according to the 20th edition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ten Thousand Commandments report.

This huge number is $50 billion more per year than what a Small Business Administration study found in 2008.

In an op-ed in the Daily Caller, the report’s author Waynes Crews along with CEI’s Ryan Young note “that the cost of regulation has exceeded half the size of the federal budget.” And in the report, it notes that cost of complying with federal regulations is more than the economic output of Canada or Mexico.

Here are some other unfortunate facts about the federal regulatory system:

  • 78,961 pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register. While that may be a lot of pages, it only was the fourth-most prolific year of all time (81,405 pages were added in 2010).
  • 2,517 rules were proposed in 2012, the most since 2003.
  • Of the over 4,000 regulations in the pipeline, 224 are “economically significant,” meaning they’ll cost more than $100 million.
  • The top five rule-making agencies of 2012 were the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation. If you include EPA, which is sixth, these agencies accounted for 48% (1,953) of all federal rules.

This costly, unaccountable system needs reform. To remain globally competitive, we need a regulatory process that properly weighs rules’ benefits and costs and is transparent to the public.

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