This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

It was a four-day workweek after Independence Day. Google received its fourth antitrust lawsuit and President Biden issued a major executive order intended to replace corporate dominance with Washington’s. Whatever the intentions, the result of these things is usually cronyism and regulatory capture. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from handwritten signatures to rental reporting.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 48 final regulations last week, after 73 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 30 minutes.
  • With 1,657 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,211 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 27 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 55 the previous week.
  • With 1,088 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,109 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 342 notices last week, after 482 notices the previous week.
  • With 11,398 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,112 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,099 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,527 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 283 pages.
  • With 36,482 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,702 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 21 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with two in the last week. This is on pace for 42 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 345 new rules affect small businesses. Seven are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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

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