Category Archives: regulation

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for breaking up the company; CEI’s Iain Murray and Kent Lassman explain why that’s a bad idea. CEI also released the 2019 edition of “Ten Thousand Commandments.” On Friday, President Trump enacted a new 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from tariff applications to habitat descriptions.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 58 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 53 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 925 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,542 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 434 notices, for a total of 7,618 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,929 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,081 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,746 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 20,764 pages. It is on pace for 57,044 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 27 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 167 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 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.

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Re-Prioritizing Regulatory Reform

The 2019 edition of Wayne Crews’ Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State is out now. It contains basic data on the regulatory state that is harder to find than it should be: how many regulations agencies issue, how much they cost, and what is coming up next. Wayne also has several reform ideas, from a regulatory budget akin to the government’s sending budget, to improved disclosure and cost accounting standards, to more congressional involvement in the rulemaking process.

If you prefer a shorter version, Wayne and I have a piece at National Review sharing the main findings and making the case for re-prioritizing regulatory reform:

President Trump, who made regulatory reform a priority early in his term, claims to have reduced federal regulatory burdens by $23 billion in fiscal year 2018. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he has hinted at declaring premature victory and given indications of abandoning the issue altogether.

Congress should also be on board:

Congress has shown interest in executive-branch transparency in matters concerning Trump himself. It should extend that interest to regulatory agencies over which President Trump wields power.

Read the whole piece here. The new 2019 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments is here, and a summarizing press release is here.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Not one, but two potential Federal Reserve Board nominees withdrew from consideration last week and economic growth and unemployment remained in excellent health. Meanwhile, with the 2019 Federal Register poised to exceed 20,000 pages this week, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations covering TV channel lineups to postal products.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 53 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 45 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 10 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 867 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,521 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 528 notices, for a total of 7,184 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,884 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,746 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,330 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 19,681 pages. It is on pace for 57,213                                                         pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 27 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 156 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 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.

Republican Study Committee Releases 2020 Budget Proposal

Congress is supposed to pass an annual spending budget, though it rarely gets around to it. Instead, the government is usually funded through a mashup of individual appropriations bills, omnibus appropriations bills, and continuing resolutions. This makes government spending less transparent and less accountable. It also leaves the federal government vulnerable to shutdowns during political fights, which happened in January of this year.

Fortunately, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) has just issued a proposed budget. It is likely the only budget that will be introduced in Congress this year, though unlikely to pass a Democratic House. As with any issue-spanning document, one can quibble with its contents regardless of political persuasion. Still, the RSC deserves a great deal of credit for at least putting something out there.

Other parts of the GOP should also issue their own proposed budgets; unlike The Highlander, there can be more than one. Across the aisle, a Democratic budget(s) would face similar obstacles in a Republican Senate and White House. They still should release their own budgets to make their policy priorities more concrete.

The whole RSC FY 2020 Budget is here. The document cites CEI sources on a variety of issues:

  • Regulatory Reform. The budget gives an entire chapter to regulatory reform, beginning on page 17, and cites Wayne Crews’s Ten Thousand Commandments annual report—the 2019 edition of which will be released soon.
  • Energy and Environment. The budget’s recommendations for increasing North American energy production draw on the energy and environment chapter in CEI’s Agenda for the 116th Congress.
  • Export-Import Bank. On page 25, the budget would abolish the Export-Import Bank, citing my paper “Ten Reasons to Abolish the Export-Import Bank.” Ex-Im’s charter expires this September 30, and will close if Congress declines to reauthorize it.

Kudos to the RSC for putting out a tangible document that should serve as a starting point for debating federal priorities for the next fiscal year—and for attempting to fix a broken budget process. They also have excellent taste in finding sources for many of their ideas; interested readers can find more in CEI’s Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 116th Congress.

At Least He Means Well

The 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat observed, “The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.” I thought of this quotation when looking for a statement from President Trump on his early-term regulatory reform efforts. This is a top quote from a WhiteHouse.gov press release, presumably from its Department of Redundancy Department:

We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money.

 

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

While Washington’s “This Town” types geared up for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the rest of the country flocked to movie theaters for a much more realistic and wholesome form of entertainment—“Avengers: Endgame.” Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations from Mushroom Council membership to hydroelectric licenses.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 45 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 66 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 44 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 814 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,513 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 411 notices, for a total of 6,656 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,543 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,330 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,516 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 17,929 pages. It is on pace for 55,337 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 26 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 150 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 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.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire and sustained heavy damage. The rebuilding will likely take years, though people began politicizing it almost instantly. In other news, the Mueller report was publicly released on Thursday. Cable news networks on both sides of the partisan divide, in a show of unity, have reportedly agreed to report on nothing else for the remainder of 2019. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations from synthetic cannibinoids to grapefruit grading.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, same as the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 769 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,530 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 487 notices, for a total of 6,245 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,543 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,516 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,286 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 16,600 pages. It is on pace for 54,606 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 25 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 142 new rules affect small businesses; 10 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 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.