Minimum Wages Have Tradeoffs

Minimum wages help some workers, which is why they are so popular. But they aren’t a free lunch. There are tradeoffs. They aren’t always easy to see, but they exist just the same. My colleague Iain Murray has a piece about those tradeoffs in the Washington Examiner, to which I contributed. As Iain summarizes:

Breaking out of poverty is difficult for many people, and the evidence is that a minimum wage adds to the difficulty. Workers are fired, hours are cut, jobs are not created, non-wage perks, including insurance, free parking, free meals, and vacation days evaporate, annual bonuses shrink, prices rise, (squeezing minimum wage earners themselves), big businesses gain an artificial competitive advantage over their smaller competitors, and crime rates rise. It is a bleak litany.

On the flip side, minimum wages do give some workers a raise. Are the tradeoffs that others have to endure worth it? Read the whole thing here (or here for a facsimile of the print edition, starting at p. 24).

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

It was business as usual, with new rules hitting the books on everything from political speech restrictions to butterflies to football broadcasts.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 74 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 52 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 16 minutes.
  • So far in 2014, 2,944 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,573 new regulations this year.
  • Last week, 1,251 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
  • Currently at 63,779 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,402 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 34 such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.62 billion to $10.87 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
  • 242 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2014, 552 new rules affect small businesses; 80 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The federal government took Monday off for Columbus Day, but still managed to pack more than 50 new regulations into a short week.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 52 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 62 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 14 minutes.
  • So far in 2014, 2,870 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,570 new regulations this year. This would be the lowest total in decades; this will likely change as the year goes on.
  • Last week, 990 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
  • Currently at 62,528 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,772 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 34 such rules have been published so far this year, one in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.62 billion to $10.87 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
  • 237 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2014, 546 new rules affect small businesses; 80 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Even with a mid-term election coming up next month, agencies are cranking out a dozen or so new regulations every workday. The federal government also announced that, having solved all other problems, it will be holding a Tall Wood Building Prize Competition.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 79 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 43 minutes.
  • So far in 2014, 2,818 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,576 new regulations this year. This would be the lowest total in decades; this will likely change as the year goes on.
  • Last week, 1,503 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
  • Currently at 61,538 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 78,094 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 34 such rules have been published so far this year, one in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.62 billion to $10.87 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
  • 231 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2014, 538 new rules affect small businesses; 79 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

A Pen and Phone Strategy to Shrink Government

President Obama is right that Congress doesn’t do much. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. But the pen and phone strategy Obama proposed can be used for a lot of things. The president seems inclined to use it mostly to expand government. But the pen and phone can also shrink government and make it more accountable, as Wayne Crews and I explain over at RealClearMarkets:

 Congress passed 72 laws in 2013, while agencies issued 3,659 rules and regulations—a 51 to one ratio. This disparity suggests two areas where a pen-and-phone strategy might do some good. First, increased government transparency about the nature of all these rules. Second, establishing something akin to a federal “Department of No” to reduce the bureaucracy’s output relative to Congress.

In short, we propose the Executive require already-required transparency documents such as the Unified Agenda to at least come out on time. And we propose at least an informal check on agency rulemaking that asks agencies to look before they leap. Read the whole thing here.

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The Federal Register topped the 60,000-page mark on Friday, and is on pace for the 6th-highest page count in its 79-year history. Along the way, new regulations cover everything from 5K races to how magnets work.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 79 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 84 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 8 minutes.
  • So far in 2014, 2,756 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,589 new regulations this year. This would be the lowest total in decades; this will likely change as the year goes on.
  • Last week, 1,814 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
  • Currently at 60,035 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 78,171 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 33 such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.62 billion to $10.87 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
  • 227 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2014, 527 new rules affect small businesses; 78 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

Sheep-Shearing Program Gets a Raise

Nice writeup over at watchdog.org on the federal government’s Sheep Industry Improvement Plan. Besides quoting some of CEI’s research, William Patrick uncovers a surprising amount of sheep-related perfidy.