CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation


Just another week in the world of regulation:

  • 85 new final rules were published last week, down from 86 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation precisely every hour and 59 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All in all, 2,298 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,894 new rules.
  • 3,645 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 46,524 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 77,540 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 26 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.
  • One economically significant rule was published last week.
  • So far, 240 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
  • So far this year, 431 final rules affect small business. 63 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • Last week’s economically significant rule was an increase in payments the federal government makes to skilled nursing facilities, to the tune of $670 million in FY 2013. Since this cost is in government spending and not compliance costs, I am scoring it as costing zero in this year’s tally of compliance costs.
  • The Federal Reserve System is revising its debit card swipe fee price controls to account for “fraud-prevention costs incurred by merchants.”
  • Organic food enthusiasts might be interested in new changes to the national list of allowed and prohibited substances.
  • The federal government places limits on hunting for the Utah prairie dog.
  • If you use a corporate jet for entertainment purposes, the related expenses are no longer tax deductible.
  • Attention, pro athletes: prostanozol (17β-hydroxy-5α-androstano[3,2-c]pyrazole) and methasterone (2α,17α-dimethyl-5α-androstan-17β-ol-3-one) are now considered anabolic steroids by the DEA and are subject to the Controlled Substances Act.

For more data, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.

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