Tag Archives: big government

Federal Register Hits 25,000 Pages

This morning, the 2010 Federal Register passed the 25,000 page mark with an “Issuance of Order for Implementation of Additional Security Measures and Fingerprinting for Unescorted Access to Florida Power and Light Company” from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

After 87 working days, the Federal Register stands at 25,098 pages. That’s an average of 288 pages every single day of proposed rules, final rules, notices, and other federal doings.

Assuming 250 working days in a year, the Register is on pace for 72,121 pages, a slight increase over 2009’s 69,676 pages.

Back in January, it was on pace for a mere 63,187 pages. The pace has been accelerating since.

Can President Obama top President Bush’s final Federal Register, which ran to 79,435 pages? We shall see what the coming months bring.

Tax Freedom Day

Today, April 9, is Tax Freedom Day. The good folks at the Tax Foundation calculated how much money local, state, and federal governments harvested last year from taxpayers ($3,469,000,000,000), and compared that to national income ($12,901,000,000,000). At 26.89 percent of national income, you basically work until April 9 just to pay off your taxes.

April 9 is the national average; different states have different tax burdens, so Tax Freedom Day actually varies from state to state. If you live in Alaska, you already celebrated Tax Freedom Day on March 26. But if you live in Connecticut, you have to keep the champagne on ice until April 27.

That isn’t the whole picture, though. The federal government spends far more than it taxes. $1,414,000,000,000 more, last year alone. The burden of federal deficit spending adds another 40 days. Not even counting state and local deficit spending, that puts us out to May 19 by my calculations (May 17 by the Tax Foundation’s).

Even that’s not all. The hidden tax of federal regulation cost businesses and consumers an additional $1,187,000,000,000 last year, according to Wayne Crews’ soon-to-be-released 2010 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments (previous editions are online here). None of that extra trillion-plus actually shows up in the federal budget. Regulation eats up an additional 9.2 percent of national income, or 8.3 percent of GDP. So you have to work an additional 34 days until you pay off the federal regulatory burden.

It’s tempting to brush off regulatory costs, since most of them are borne by businesses. But remember, businesses pass on their costs to consumers. You pay for the regulatory state. Its costs are real.

Adding together total taxes, plus federal deficit spending, plus federal regulations pushes us out to June 22 by calculations, or June 20 by the Tax Foundation’s.

And remember, that’s leaving out state and local deficit spending. Nor does it count state and local regulations. I don’t have the data handy for that. But if they add up to at least $460,000,000,000 then we’re past the half-way mark of the year. Just to pay for government.

Even using the larger number of GDP ($14,253,000,000,000 in 2009), and leaving state and local deficit spending and regulation, we’re still talking 42.9 percent of the economy going to pay for government. That’s 157 days out of the year. You’re not free until June 6 even by that generous measure.

I’d argue that government has grown too big, but the data have already done that for me.

Government Is a Third Bigger Than You Think

Today’s Washington Times briefly quotes me making that point:

“A regulatory monster is eating America’s economy. Not only do federal regulations cost Americans more than the income tax, they cost about as much as the entire GDP of Canada,” analyst Ryan Young tells Beltway. “Since regulatory costs don’t show up in the budget, more than a trillion dollars of government’s cost go largely unnoticed. The burden of government is actually about a third larger than most people think.”

For more, see Wayne Crews’ forthcoming 2010 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments.

That Didn’t Take Long

Today is the fourth working day of the new year. The Federal Register is already over 1,000 pages long.

At this rate, the 2010 Federal Register will hit 63,187 pages. This is an improvement over 2009, when it reached 69,676 pages. In 2008, it was 79,435 pages.