Category Archives: regulation

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Thanksgiving was rather different than most years, and not in a good way. Hopefully, with viable vaccines on the way, it will be back to normal in 2021. The number of new final regulations this year passed the 3,000 mark, and has already surpassed last year’s total with more than a month to go. The 2020 Federal Register surpassed 76,000 pages, and is already the Trump administration’s longest by more than 5,000 pages.Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from milk flexibilities to electronic groundfish monitoring.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 73 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 69 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 18 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,025 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,302 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 35 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,984 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,166 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,170 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 20,392 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,262 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,821 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,692 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 76,417 pages. It is on pace for 83,424 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 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 70 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 597 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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

Thanksgiving will be a little different this year. With the recent news about promising COVID-19 vaccines, next year’s turkey celebration should be closer to normal. In other news, the famous Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico has become another 2020 casualty. It will close due to structural damage sustained in recent storms. On the other hand, a SpaceX rocket safely took four astronauts to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from cherry marketing subcommittees to groundfish specifications.

On to the data:

• Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 58 the previous week.
• That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 26 minutes.
• Federal agencies have issued 2,952 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,280 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
• There were 38 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,949 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,166 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,170 proposed regulations.
• Last week, agencies published 435 notices, for a total of 19,986 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,207 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
• Last week, 1,692 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,674 pages the previous week.
• The 2020 Federal Register totals 74,593 pages. It is on pace for 82,882 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four such rules were published in 2019.
• The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 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 70 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
• So far in 2020, 588 new rules affect small businesses; 24 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them classified as significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

• Marketing Order No. 966 for tomatoes grown in Florida has been amended.
• The government’s Cherry Industry Administrative Board is implementing subcommittee size and new term limit rules.
• There is a new Tehachapi Mountains viticultural area.
• National Environmental Policy Act compliance from the Forest Service.
• The Environmental Protection Agency will be enforcing parts of the Clean Air Act as they are written. This qualifies as an economically significant policy change with estimated savings of $860 million to $1.5 billion in present value terms.
• Health care for astronauts.
• Export regulations from the Industry and Security Bureau.
• Guidance document policies from the Peace Corps.
• Fees for trademarks.
• Bird hunting in Alaska.
• Eligibility for subsidized flood insurance.
• Call authentication trust anchor.
• A regulatory cleanup initiative from the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Children and Families Administration. They will go through their existing rules and fix typos, mistakes, and references to other regulations.
• Cooperative agreements between NASA and commercial firms.
• Minimum standards for intercity passenger rail service.
• Last week: Samoan swordfish. This week: Samoan bottomfish.
• Harvesting specifications for groundfish caught in Alaska.

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

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The 2020 election is finally, mercifully, over. Barring a surprise in the Georgia Senate runoffs, we will continue to have divided government. This arrangement typically gives the slowest growing government—though with the tradeoff that positive reforms become more difficult, too. It was also a four-day work week for the federal government, which closed Wednesday in observance of Veteran’s Day. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from NASA rewards to Samoan swordfish.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 58 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 54 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,877 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,269 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 36 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,910 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,169 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,170 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 318 notices, for a total of 19,551 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,217 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,674 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,103 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 72,897 pages. It is on pace for 82,838 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 63 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 575 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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

The 2024 election season officially began on Wednesday. The 2020 Federal Register topped 70,000 pages right on election day, and is on pace to be the Trump era’s largest by more than 11,000 pages. The usual midnight rush that accompanies a change in power could push that number even higher. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from semichemical emissions to riding electric bikes in water.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 70 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 24 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,819 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,263 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 54 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,874 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,169 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 469 notices, for a total of 19,233 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,260 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 2,103 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,486 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 71,211 pages. It is on pace for 82,421 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 63 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 561 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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.

The 2020 Election Actually Had Some Free-Market Victories

Neither presidential candidate has much interest in limited government. But over at National Review, I look at some neglected down-ballot victories from the 2020 election. A divided Congress will prevent one party from running everything, regardless of who wins the White House. There were also several state-level victories across the country. 

California voters partially undid the AB5 gig-worker law that made unemployment even worse during the pandemic. They also voted against an expansion of rent control, which is one reason California’s housing prices are so high.

Not that legislators will listen, but Illinois voters sent them a message to address the state’s pension crisis by cutting spending rather than raising taxes:

The Illinois legislature had already passed a separate tax hike bill, conditional on voters approving the amendment. Voters disapproved by a 55-45 margin, and taxes will remain as they are.

Voters in Oregon and several other states also continued to deescalate the drug war:

In order for people to respect the law, they have to be able to respect it. That was a major cultural cost of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and of the drug war today. Drug legalization allows law enforcement to focus on real crimes and ease an avoidable source of antagonism between police officers and the communities they serve—especially in minority areas where drug laws are disproportionately enforced.

Washington state voters registered disapproval of a plastic bag tax. This is a victory for my colleague Angela Logomasini, who has written about the issue here and here.

A lot went wrong in the 2020 election, as is true every year. But some things also went right. Now let’s build on those victories and create some new ones.

Read the whole thing here. Ideas for the next free-market victories are at neverneeded.cei.org.

On the Radio: The Google Antitrust Case

This Sunday, November 8, I’ll be on the Bob Zadek Show to talk about the Google antitrust case. I’ll be on for the whole hour, starting at 8:00 AM PT/11:00 ET.

Bob’s website is here. If audio is put online afterwards, I’ll post a link.

Regulatory Relief Needs Better Transparency

Getting rid of #NeverNeeded regulations is one of the most important policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The short-term benefits are obvious. But the long-term benefits are arguably more important, for both long-term growth and resilience against the next crisis. My colleague Alex Reinauer and I have a short piece over at RealClearPolicy looking at just how much deregulation has happened in the wake of COVID. It’s actually very difficult to tell how much there is, due to a lack of transparency:

Transparency is important, especially during a crisis. Agencies need to do more than look like they are “doing something” in response to COVID. Congress and the president need to ensure agencies follow existing transparency requirements. Additional safeguards such as annual agency regulatory report cards will keep agencies more honest during this and future crises. Then policy makers and the public can judge for themselves what agencies are faring, and how they can do it better. It’s a lot more cost effective than another $1 trillion “stimulus.”

These transparency problems are a system-level problem that needs to be addressed. Agencies need to follow existing transparency guidelines. People need to know what they are doing, how much it costs, and what agencies are doing to improve their work. As we often say at CEI, institutions matter. It is not enough to reform this or that rule. The larger institutions that create those rules also need to be reformed.

Read the whole piece here. For more reform ideas, visit neverneeded.cei.org.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The Los Angeles Dodgers won baseball’s World Series. GDPnumbers bounced back in a big way, though the economy is still smaller than a year ago. The presidential election is tomorrow, and all those infernal campaign ads will finally, mercifully, stop. The Senate is out of session until November 9. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from egg product inspections to importing retail meth ingredients.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 62 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,749 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,257 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,820 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,156 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 474 notices, for a total of 18,764 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,232 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,486 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,439 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 69,118 pages. It is on pace for 81,894 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 63 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 542 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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

In the news last week, the Justice Department filed an antitrust case against Google. It is the highest-profile antitrust case since the 1998-2002 Microsoft case. There was another presidential debate, this time featuring a mute button. The OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft landed on an asteroid 200 million miles away, collected a rock sample, and is now returning to Earth. A New Yorker journalist took out his Toobin during a Zoom call, while Rudy Giuliani got in trouble for apparently almost doing something similar. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from allulose to off-road vehicles.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 71 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 43 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,694 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,269 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 37 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,781 for the year. At that pace, there will be 2,161 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 441 notices, for a total of 18,290 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,197 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,439 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,823 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 67,619 pages. It is on pace for 82,062 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 60 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 532 new rules affect small businesses; 21 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

It was a four-day week due to Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day—the controversy over which was just one of the things people were outraged about during the week. Bad judgment by Twitter content moderators caused a bipartisan flash mob to demand that the government regulate political speech. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett had her confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from real estate appraisals to Brazilian steel.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 91 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 41 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,632 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,273 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 43 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,744 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,161 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 17,849 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,200 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,823 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,834 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 66,199 pages. It is on pace for 82,337 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 59 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 526 new rules affect small businesses; 21 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.