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On the Radio: #NeverNeeded

Tomorrow I am doing an interview on #NeverNeeded regulations with the John Batchelor Show. Not sure when the segment will air, but keep an eye out.

CEI Releases #NeverNeeded Paper

My CEI colleagues have quickly compiled a short paper full of #NeverNeeded regulations that should be repealed in the wake of the coronavirus. These rules not only prevent effective response right now, but they make the country less able to deal with future crises. Now is the time to do some serious regulatory housekeeping. I contributed a few bits here and there, but this paper is a joint effort by CEI’s entire staff, ranging from transportation to health care to internet access to the regulatory process itself.

Read the whole thing here.

New CEI Series: Retro Book Reviews

My colleague Richard Morrison is overseeing a new series of retro book reviews. In a fast-moving policy world focused mostly on breaking news, sometimes it’s useful to step back, look at the larger picture, and see how people have reacted to similar problems in the past. Richard’s introductory post is here.

The first retro review is also up. It’s my review of Eric Cline’s book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, which has some surprisingly relevant lessons for the coronavirus response. That review, drawn from a version originally published at this site, is here.

Which reminds me, I have a lengthy backlog of reviews to post from books I’ve recently read, several of which are already written. I will post them when time allows.

New #NeverNeeded Website

CEI has a new website up dedicated to #NeverNeeded policy ideas. The address is neverneeded.cei.org. We’ve collected proposals ranging from healthcare to restaurants to crowdfunding, and more. The list is constantly growing. We also invite people to join the conversation on Twitter by using the #NeverNeeded hashtag.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Quarantine and stay-at-home orders will likely last through the end of April in many places. Congress passed the $2 trillion Phase 3 stimulus bill, and there is talk of pursuing a Phase 4 when Congress reconvenes on April 20. In more heartening news, governments are rolling back numerous #NeverNeeded regulations and weighing proposals to keep regulations from hindering future crisis responses. Meanwhile, agencies issued new final regulations ranging from signing correspondence to wood heater efficiency.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 58 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 54 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 816 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,139 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 50 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 548 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,108 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 443 notices, for a total of 5,686 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,870 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,602 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,245 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 19,075 pages. It is on pace for 73,366 pages. The 2019 total was 76,288 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. Two 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 $180 million and $4.69 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 19 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 163 new rules affect small businesses; seven 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.

On the Radio: Tariffs and #NeverNeeded

This morning I was on the David Webb Show on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel to talk about possible tariff suspensions and how they would stimulate the economy. We also discussed the #NeverNeeded movement and how it would assist the coronavirus response while strengthening long-term economic fundamentals.

I’ll update this post with audio if I find a link.

The #NeverNeeded Regulatory Reduction Commission

Over at the Washington Examiner, I propose a Regulatory Reduction Commission to act as a permanent watchdog to prevent #NeverNeeded regulations from hindering the next pandemic response. It would work like this:

First, no amendments should be allowed to the committee’s package. The vote must be straight up-or-down. The commission’s purpose is to avoid vote-trading and back-scratching. …

Second, the committee would be relatively small to reduce bargaining costs and make consensus easier to reach. It would also be bipartisan, so neither party can stack the deck when it is in power.

Third, the committee’s design has to account for the sheer size of the problem. … So it would tackle, say, five of the Code of Federal Regulations’ 50 titles per year in a 10-year rotation.

Read the whole piece here.

More regulatory reform ideas that could strengthen future crisis responses are in CEI’s Ten Thousand Commandments annual report.