Category Archives: regulation

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Former President George H.W. Bush was laid to rest, and no Federal Register was published on Wednesday. President Trump created a new superhero, Tariff Man, but his G20 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping did little to allay uncertainty surrounding said tariffs. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from pear taxes to vehicle interchanges.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 73 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 40 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 18 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,094 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,292 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,140 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,905 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 63,381 pages. It is on pace for 67,427 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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 102 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 593 new rules affect small businesses; 25 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.

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This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

In the news, The new NAFTA was signed (but still needs legislative approval in all three countries), General Motors announced major layoffs and plant closures, and Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch shared a bipartisan laugh at a government attorney’s defense of civil asset forfeiture. Meanwhile, the number of new regulations this year surpassed 3,000, with the newest rules ranging from newsletters to geomagnetic disturbances.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 40 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 50 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 12 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,035 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,285 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,905 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,157 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 62,240 pages. It is on pace for 67,360 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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 100 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 585 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

It was a short work week due to Veterans Day, as most Americans took time to reflect on the centenary of the World War I armistice. Readers interested in learning more about that terrible war can turn to Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars, or literature from the period such as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Wilfred Owen’s War Poems. Owen, a soldier and a poet, was killed days before the armistice. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from RVs to commercial hogfish fishing.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 40 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 54 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 12 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,926 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,296 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,619 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,007 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 58,174 pages. It is on pace for 65,512 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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 96 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 559 new rules affect small businesses; 23 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.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The midterm elections finally happened. The good news is no more political ads for a while; the bad news is that a bunch of politicians won election or reelection. Democrats won a House majority, while Republicans retained the Senate. CEI analysts have had plenty to say on what this means for a variety of issues for thenext two years. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations from granting asylum to quahog quotas.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 54 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and seven minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,886 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,310 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,007 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,066 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 56,253 pages. It is on pace for 64,511.                                                         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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 95 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 553 new rules affect small businesses; 23 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.

What Do the Midterms Mean for Regulatory Reform?

A divided Congress probably means the status quo will reign on regulation. This is a mixed bag from a free-market perspective. President Trump made some positive reforms upon taking office, but they were via executive order, and can be easily overturned by a future president—Congress needs to pass legislation to give reforms any staying power. Barring a lame duck miracle, that won’t happen now. Republicans blew a rare opportunity.

President Trump’s executive order reforms include a one-in-two-out rule for new regulations, and a requirement for agencies to add zero net regulatory costs—a de facto regulatory budget, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been advocating for more than 20 years. Agencies are not exactly transparent with their data. But based on what we do know, it’s possible that total regulatory burdens have not only stopped growing, but might have even gone down by as much as 1 percent over the last two years.

The main reform priority is the rulemaking process itself. It’s nice to get rid of this or that unfair, obsolete, or burdensome rule, but those are just symptoms. The root problem is the process that allows such regulations through in the first place. Better results require better rules. This cannot be overemphasized.

Congressional Democrats mostly oppose process-level regulatory reforms. Legislation to make recent reforms permanent, or enact further reforms, are unlikely to pass on their watch. But there is one long-running trend that should bring at least some Democrats over to reformers’ side: separation of powers.

Over the last several decades, Congress has slowly but steadily delegated away more and more of its legislative powers to executive branch agencies. Congress will usually pass a little more than 100 bills in a given year; agencies will issue more than 3,000 regulations. Considering who currently runs the executive branch, congressional Democrats are more open than usual to pleas for a more healthy separation of powers, and increased executive branch transparency. This is only a possibility, but well worth pursuing.

At a more concrete level, House Democrats will be unable to legislatively undo President Trump’s executive orders; the GOP Senate won’t allow it. At the same time, if the Senate passed reform legislation, the House wouldn’t let it through. What one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

Even so, it is important to reintroduce reform bills such as the REINS Act, Regulatory Accountability Act, Regulatory Improvement Act, and more. They will almost certainly not pass in the 116th Congress. But keeping the reforms alive in ready legislative form will make them easy to pass if political wins change, and provide opportunities for constructive dialogue about the importance of process reform, transparency, and the separation of powers—concepts which apply to issues far beyond regulatory reform.

In short, when it comes to regulatory reform in the next Congress, not much will happen. But there is much to do.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Regulators were relatively quiet during the week before the midterm election, though CEI wasn’t, with our colleague Ted Frank arguing a case before the Supreme Court on class action legal abuses. New regulations from the last week range from farm mortgages to military acquisition mentors.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 68 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 79 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 28 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,782 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,344 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,066 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,349 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 54,227 pages. It is on pace for 65,167 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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 90 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 527 new rules affect small businesses; 22 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.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Lots of contentious issues are in the news, from the midterm election to immigration to a disturbing rash of bombs sent to politicians and media outlets critical of the president. The initial third quarter GDP estimate showed healthy 3.5 percent growth, but factors from Federal Reserve independence to government-managed trade threaten future growth. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations last week ranging from non-metallic panels to soybean boards.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 68 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 79 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 28 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,782 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,344 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,066 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,349 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 54,227 pages. It is on pace for 65,167 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. Five such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 90 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • So far in 2018, 527 new rules affect small businesses; 22 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.