Category Archives: regulation

Can the Ideas in the RNC Platform Help Reform Regulation?

The Republican Party’s new platform, which contains planks on such pressing issues as “Protection Against an Electromagnetic Pulse (p. 54),” also has a lot to say about regulation. But will a GOP-controlled Congress act on them? That remains to be seen.

It is not enough to reform this or that financial or environmental regulation. The rulemaking process itself must be geared towards limiting the damage new rules can do, while regularly getting rid of obsolete, redundant, or ineffective regulations. After all, if you want better results, you need better rules. Here’s what the GOP platform proposes on that front:

  • A “bipartisan presidential commission to purge the [U.S.] Code and the [Code of Federal Regulations] of old ‘crimes,’” which is similar to the SCRUB Act that recently passed the House.
  • Occupational licensing reform—an issue where the GOP and President Obama agree. Maybe they can pass something before the next administration takes power.
  • Limit the executive branch’s power to issue regulations through executive order and other “dark matter” methods. CEI’s Wayne Crews wrote about this problem in a recent paper.
  • The REINS Act (though without mentioning it by name). REINS would require Congress to vote on all new major regulations before they can take effect. This would help to ensure agencies don’t go rogue, as the EPA did with cap-and-trade and the FCC did with net neutrality.
  • The Regulation Freedom Amendment, under which two thirds of states could vote to repeal federal regulations.
  • A regulatory budget, similar to the government’s annual spending budget. Wayne has also written on this reform.
  • A “one-in, one out” rule, under new agency regulations must be offset by repealing an equivalent dollar amount of old regulations.

All in all, not a bad list. And several of the planks have already passed the House. The trouble is that the Senate is unlikely to act on them, and the administration has issued veto threats on the REINS and SCRUB Acts. The Senate should pass them anyway to force the White House to publicly explain why they oppose regulatory reform. So in the short term, pessimism reigns.

After the election, the main task is keeping these reform ideas alive. It is important for each new Congress to keep reintroducing reform bills, and to vote on them, even in the face of veto threats. That way, when voters finally elect a president interested in regulatory reform, the legislation will already be right there for him or her to sign. So despite short-term pessimism for the next administration, the long-run future is bright for regulatory reform—so long as Congress is committed to keeping these bills alive.

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CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The big story of the week was the new proposed payday lending regulation, which ate up 356 pages of Friday’s 625-page Federal Register. It is open for public comment until October 7; submit yours here. The number of new final regulations for the year also passed the 2,000 mark. Other regulations for the week ranged from towboats to swimming pools.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 77 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 70 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 11 minutes.
  • With 2,006 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,557 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,745 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,810 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 48,248 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 85,547 pages. This would exceed the 2015 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,611.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 19 such rules have been published so far in 2016, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.82 billion to $6.02 billion.
  • 150 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 370 new rules affect small businesses; 57 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

New regulations from the past week cover everything from Namibian meat to California raisins.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 70 new final regulations were published in theFederal Register, after 50 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 24 minutes.
  • With 1,929 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,546 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,810 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,293 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 46,503 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 85,484 pages. This would exceed the 2015 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,611.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 19 such rules have been published so far in 2016, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.82 billion to $6.02 billion.
  • 144 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 364 new rules affect small businesses; 54 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

It was a short work week due to the Fourth of July holiday, but agencies still managed to issue new rules covering everything from stormwater to seatbelts.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 50 new final regulations were published in theFederal Register, after 137 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 14 minutes.
  • With 1,859 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,548 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,293 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,051 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 44,693 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 85,292 pages. This would exceed the 2015 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,611.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 19 such rules have been published so far in 2016, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.82 billion to $6.02 billion.
  • 141 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 354 new rules affect small businesses; 53 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

Maybe the recently-passed Congressional Review Act deadline I wrote about previously hasn’t had much effect on midnight regulators. The Federal Registeronce again topped 2,000 pages last week, and included a year-high 137 final regulations, ranging from eggs to groupers.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 137 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 77 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 14 minutes.
  • With 1,809 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,561 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 2,051 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,343 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 43,200 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 85,001 pages. This would exceed the 2015 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,611.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 19 such rules have been published so far in 2016, two in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.82 billion to $6.02 billion.
  • 140 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 340 new rules affect small businesses; 53 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.

Toward a Regulatory Budget

How much should the U.S. government spend on defense? How much on health care? Or energy, or technology? Every year, the U.S. federal government is supposed to publish a spending budget to answer these sorts of questions. But there is no equivalent budget for regulations. Why not? My colleague Wayne Crews’ newest study asks exactly that question.

Why is this a problem? Suppose the Labor Department doesn’t have the money in its budget for some job-training program it has in mind. It can get around the problem by simply issuing a regulation requiring private companies to run the same program, at their expense. People have to pay for it either way. But the regulatory way doesn’t show up on the federal spending ledger.

A regulatory budget, on the other hand, would prevent regulatory agencies from doing darn near anything they want. People like you and me have to prioritize our spending. If I buy a new television, that’s money I can’t put into my child’s college fund. Money you spend on a new car is money you can’t put into your retirement account.

Regulatory agencies, with their multi-billion dollar budgets, do not face the same tradeoffs that people like you and I do. A regulatory budget would help agencies behave more like people.

As it is now, if the Environmental Protection Agency issues a new power plant regulation adding $9.6 billion to people’s electricity bills every year, so what? It can, and will, pass additional regulations affecting everything from air conditioners to refrigerators, further adding to the damage. Federal regulations make it harder for people to pay their mortgages, student loans, and other bills.

The EPA hurts people, to the tune of at least $353 billion per year, on just an $8 billion budget. A regulatory budget would force the agency to publicly recognize that nearly 40-fold difference. Not to pick on the EPA specifically, but they do have a transparency problem. So do most of the 60-plus other rulemaking agencies that issue more than 3,400 new regulations every year. Their combined efforts cost consumers and entrepreneurs about $1.88 trillion every year.

A regulatory budget, similar to the spending requests agencies make every year, would go a long way toward making the public more aware of how much agencies like the EPA, FCC, SEC, and others actually cost. A regulatory budget is not be a panacea, but it would be better than what we have now.

For more see Wayne’s regulatory budget paper here.

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The 2016 Federal Register surpassed 40,000 pages last week, with new rules ranging from lights on farm equipment to grading raisins.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 77 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 93 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 11 minutes.
  • With 1,672 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,426 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,343 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,802 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 41,149 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 84,322 pages. This would exceed the 2015 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,611.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 16 such rules have been published so far in 2016, one in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.70 billion to $5.62 billion.
  • 132 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 331 new rules affect small businesses; 49 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.