Category Archives: regulation

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement came into effect on July 1, and three states increased their minimum wages. The unemployment rate went down to 11.1 percent. The federal government also took Friday off to celebrate Independence Day, though that didn’t stop the 2020 Federal Register from topping 40,000 pages on Thursday. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from cellulose products to Texas onion tax cuts.

On to the data:

  • Last week, in a four-day week, 57 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 82 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 57 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,568 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,063 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,113 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,174 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 383 notices, for a total of 11,386 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,652 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,344 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,409 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 40,084 pages. It is on pace for 78,290 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 31 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 303 new rules affect small businesses; 12 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Consumer spending rose 8.2 percent in May, a new record that gives hope for a quicker economic recovery. On the other hand, new coronavirus cases in the last week set their own record. The virus is apparently ignoring pleas from the White House to reduce testing. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from dry pea insurance to hammerhead shark management.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 82 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 55 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,511 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,046 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 31 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,074 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,165 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 11,003 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,183 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,409 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,192 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 38,740 pages. It is on pace for 78,104 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 30 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 294 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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

Podcast: Reforming #NeverNeeded Regulations

Mitch Kokai at the John Locke Foundation was kind enough to invite me on his HeadLocke Podcast to talk about #NeverNeeded regulations that are harming the pandemic response, and how to reform them. We discuss individual rules as well as the need to reform the rulemaking process itself that generates 3,000 or so new regulations each year.

The John Locke Foundation also has released a Rebound Plan for North Carolina, where the organization is based—the basketball reference is a nice touch. It contains COVID-related reform ideas for a variety of issues including health care, education, and of course, regulation. Many of the ideas can be applied in other states and at the federal level. It pairs well with CEI’s new 2020 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments.

The podcast is here. The Carolina Rebound Plan is hereTen Thousand Commandments 2020 is here. And CEI’s #NeverNeeded site is here.

#NeverNeeded Reg Reform Event on YouTube

This morning’s CEI Zoom event is now on YouTube. Following remarks by OIRA head Paul Ray, Kent Lassman, Wayne Crews, and I discuss regulatory reforms and Wayne’s new Ten Thousand Commandments report. Excerpts from the event are viewable here.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Trade protectionists have taken to calling free traders soft on China. According to John Bolton’s forthcoming book, it turns out to be the other way around. This analyst’s warnings about trade barriers being tools for corruption have turned out to be correct. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from anabolic steroids to single-use chambers.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 53 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,429 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,002 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 53 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,043 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,235 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 393 notices, for a total of 10,464 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,983 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,192 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,178 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 37,330 pages. It is on pace for 78,424 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 28 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 275 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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

Has Trump Been a Net Deregulator?

Pierre Lemieux, in the cover story of the new Summer 2020 issue of the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine, draws from the new 2020 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments to estimate the Trump administration’s net impact on regulation:

Trump’s Executive Order 13771, signed January 30, 2017, mandated the elimination of two existing rules (or formal regulations) for any new one implemented. The latest edition of regulatory analyst Clyde Wayne Crews’s annual report Ten Thousand Commandments notes that this goal was more than achieved over the first three years of the Trump administration. However, Crews adds, last year showed a notable loss of momentum as there were more regulatory actions than deregulatory actions in the pipeline at the end of 2019.

And:

Figure 5, which gives the number of pages in the CFR [Code of Federal Regulations] over time, suggests that the Trump administration has roughly capped the total volume of federal regulations at, or slightly over, the 185,000 pages they comprised at the end of the Obama presidency. According to this measure, the Trump administration stopped the growth of regulation, but it did not deregulate. Ryan Young, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and colleague of Crews, summarizes the situation:

President Trump’s first three years of regulation are mixed. He deregulated in some areas and added new burdens in others. Transparency problems and poor data quality from agencies make it impossible to tell for certain if Trump has been a net deregulator. The most likely verdict is that he has slowed regulatory growth but has not cut regulation on net.

The whole article is excellent. Pierre gives a superb summary of the last three years of economic policy. Wayne Crews’s Ten Thousand Commandments study is here. Wayne and I offer an op-ed length summary of the report here.

Speaking at #NeverNeeded Event on June 22 with OIRA Administrator Paul Ray, CEI’s Kent Lassman, Wayne Crews

On Monday, June 22 at 11:00 ET, CEI is holding a Zoom event on regulatory reform with Paul Ray, who heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs inside the Office of Management and Budget. That’s the agency most directly involved in monitoring the federal regulatory state.

Also speaking at the event are CEI president Kent Lassman, vice president for policy Wayne Crews, and me.

Registration is here. Afterwards, the event will be posted to YouTube. I’ll post a link when it’s up.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The rate of new coronavirus cases increased last week, adding a note of caution to tentative efforts at reopening. Regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from Florida bats to heraldic items.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 53 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 71 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 10 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,374 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,013 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 53 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,019 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,235 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 410 notices, for a total of 10,071 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,086 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,178 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,976 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 36,137 pages. It is on pace for 79,248 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 28 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 268 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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

#NeverNeed Regulations and the Coronavirus

COVID-19 changed life almost overnight. Health care workers and medical supply networks were stressed in ways not seen in at least 50 years. Lockdowns have changed work, school, grocery shopping, and family and social life for billions of people worldwide in ways perhaps never seen before. Here in the U.S., unemployment is suddenly the highest it has been since the Great Depression. The economy is officially now in a recession. More to the point, more than 100,000 people have died.

What is the appropriate public policy response to this crisis? In a short video, Kent Lassman makes the case for lifting barriers that government has built that block people’s ingenuity and ability to fight the coronavirus. For lifting restrictions on access to health care providers and treatments. And for removing regulations that block access to capital for businesses struggling to stay afloat, or that stop them from hiring people.

That means freezing new rules, suspending harmful ones, and adding sunsets to rules so they automatically expire if they don’t work as intended. The wisest policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the tough recovery ahead is to get rid of regulations that were #NeverNeeded in the first place.

Watch the video here.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

2020’s cascade of despair continued with nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer and the larger issue of systemic racism in law enforcement. Friday’s 13.3 percent unemployment rate announcement was actually good news, and says much about the more than 600 regulations waived so far at various levels of government. Regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from phthalates to New Hampshire gas.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 42 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 22 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,326 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,041 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 48 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 966 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,216 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 501 notices, for a total of 9,661 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,158 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,976 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,619 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 34,956 pages. It is on pace for 80,175 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 28 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 258 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

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