Tag Archives: ten thousand commandments

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation


It may have been a short work week, but it was still a busy one in the world of regulation:

  • 68 new final rules were published this week. That’s a new rule every 2 hours and 28 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All in all, exactly 500 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year. If this keeps up, 3,327 new rules will hit the books in 2012.
  • 1,545 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register this week, for a total of 11,367 pages. At this pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 76,804 pages.
  • There were 15 significant actions this week, as defined by Executive Order 12866. Of those, one is an “economically significant” final rule. That means it costs $100 million or more per year.
  • So far this year, 84 final rules affect small businesses. 16 of them are significant rules.
  • Economically significant rules published so far in 2012 cost at least $15.01 billion. Two of the nine rules do not have cost estimates. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.

Here are highlights from final rules that passed this week:

  • The Small Business Administration is changing the size requirements for certain types of businesses to qualify as small. By raising some size limits, the SBA hopes to increase the amount of money that it transfers from taxpayers to private businesses.
  • The EPA issued a 123-page final rule designating and revising critical habitats for two types of minnow, each measuring less than 3 inches in length.
  • The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has revised its fireworks approval policy.
  • We dare you to read all the way through this regulation that was published today to implement part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill.

For more data, updated daily, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.

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CEI Podcast for December 29, 2011: A Record Year for Regulation

Have a listen here.

Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews talks about why 2011 was a record year for both new regulations and their cost. He also talks about his efforts to make the opaque regulatory state more transparent. Besides his annual “Ten Thousand Commandments” report, Wayne has started a new TenThousandCommandments.com website to update regulatory data in real time. There is a also a 10KC Twitter account and a Facebook page to make it as easy as possible to keep an eye on what regulatory agencies are up to.

Regulation: The Hidden Tax

Wayne Crews and I have a piece in today’s Sacramento Bee summarizing the main findings of Wayne’s “Ten Thousand Commandments” study. We also point out that regulatory costs are not limited to the $1.75 trillion it takes to comply with them:

The total cost of federal regulation is $1.75 trillion. That’s true in terms of money. But money isn’t everything. Regulation also has opportunity costs. Workers spend millions of man-hours every year filling out forms and following procedures. That time could be spent on other things instead, such as finding ways to lower costs, improve quality and increase worker productivity. When there’s too much regulation, progress and innovation slow down.

There is a second opportunity cost that is often overlooked. Companies don’t sit idly by when regulators propose new rules. They try to influence the process. Most companies, especially larger ones, often favor new regulations in their industries. They will pay lobbyists a lot of money to influence the rules in a favorable way – say, by handicapping a competitor.

Ten Thousand Commandments

The 2011 edition of Wayne Crews’ “Ten Thousand Commandments” was released today. The annual study gives a big-picture view of the regulatory state. You can read it here. Some of the main findings:

-Federal regulations cost $1.75 trillion per year. That’s equivalent to about half of federal spending. Government’s cost is actually about 50 percent bigger than most people think.

-Agencies issued 3,752 final rules in 2010. At that pace, a new rule comes into effect every two hours or so.

-Another 4,225 rules are in the pipeline right now.

-The Federal Register hit an all-time high 81,405 pages in 2010.

-Economically significant regulations are way up. These are defined as rules that have over $100 million of economic impact. There were 224 in 2010. That’s a 22 percent increase over 2009’s 184.

CEI Podcast – October 14, 2010: Antitrust Follies and Regulatory Reform

Have a listen here.

CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews talks about why antitrust actually hurts competition, and offers some ideas for regulatory reform based on his recent articles for BigGovernment.com and The Washington Times, and on his annual Ten Thousand Commandments report.

Federal Register Hits 50,000 Pages

And it’s on pace to hit a near-record 80,447 pages. Over at the Daily Caller, I crunch some of the numbers and offer up some Ideas for regulatory reform, inspired by Wayne Crews’ 10,000 Commandments.

-The Federal Register’s accelerating pace is due to two things. One is implementation of the health care and financial regulation bills. The other is that, fearing a party change in Congress, lame-duck regulating may have already begun.

-Keeping Federal Register page counts in check is important. Keeping the contents of those pages in check is even more important. Comprehensive regulatory reform involves much, much more.

-Such as five-year sunsets for all new regulations unless specifically reauthorized by Congress.

-And a comprehensive look at the regulatory state in each year’s Economics Report of the President.

-And a bipartisan commission to comb through the books for harmful or obsolete regulations. They would hand their recommendations for repeal to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without amendment.

Ideas for Regulatory Reform

Tax Freedom Day was April 9. But when you factor in the cost of regulation (on which more here), it turns out we work nearly half the year just to pay for government. Wayne Crews and I give the details, as well as some ideas for regulatory reform, over at Fox Forum. The three we give are:

-Disclosure. Each year’s federal budget, or the annual “Economic Report of the President,” should include in-depth chapters exploring the regulatory state, along the lines of Ten Thousand Commandments. The more the public and policymakers know about regulatory costs, the more likely they are to do something about them.

-Eliminate obsolete rules. Congress should task the Office of Management and Budget with identifying rules to eliminate each year. Congress should also implement its own bipartisan packages of cuts to be voted on, up or down, without amendment. Mandatory 5-year sunsets for all new rules would also help. Congress can reauthorize useful rules, while obsolete or harmful ones would automatically expire.

-Most important of all, Congress needs to reassume its lawmaking responsibilities. It passed 125 bills last year—but federal agencies passed 3,503 final rules. This “regulation without representation” should end. There is too little accountability when it comes to regulation.