You are here

Red Tapeworm 2014: U.S. Regulation Compared to the World’s Largest Economies

This is Part 7 of a series taking a walk through some sections of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (2014 Edition).

The cost of federal regulations amount to the equivalent of around 11 percent of U.S. GDP, as I'd noted in the last installment of this series.

But the U.S. economy is the world's largest, approaching $17 trillion. So it's interesting to compare the estimated cost of regulation to the size or national incomes of other countries around the world.

For starters, estimated U.S. regulatory costs of $1.863 trillion surpass the 2012 gross domestic product of our nearest neighbors. Canada's GDP stood at $1.821 trillion, and Mexico's GDP at $1.178 trillion.

Regs compared to global GDPs

More broadly, as can be seen nearby in a ranking of the 15 largest global economies, there are nine countries whose GDP exceeds the estimated cost of regulation in the United States (which is highlighted in yellow).

So, if U.S. regulatory costs of $1.863 trillion comprised a “country,” it would be ranked the 10th largest nation, falling between India and Italy.

For a global perspective, U.S. regulatory costs of $1.863 trillion exceed the output of many of the worlds major economies -- including all of those regarded as the most economically free.

There are two highly influential and widely cited annual compilations aimed at exploring the extent of global economic liberalization. Each year the Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal, publishes an Index of Economic Freedom. Also the Cato Institute and a large group of international think tanks publish an Economic Freedom of the World report.

Among the top 10 in each "economic freedom" ranking, seven are common between the two (Alphabetically, these seven are Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland).

Australia and Canada are the highest-income nations among the countries ranked most free, at $1.5 trillion for Australia and (as noted already) $1.8 trillion for Canada. The same chart already referenced nearby shows that these would be ranked "12th" and "13th" behind YSA regulation's figurative "10th" place ranking.

Next time: Costs Of Enforcing Federal Regulation

Red Tapeworm 2014 Series
Part 1: Guess Which Is the Largest Government on Earth?
Part 2: Tardy Bureaucrats Gone Wild
Part 3: Reckoning the Dollar Cost of Federal Regulation
Part 4: Regulations Catching Up to Government Spending?
Part 5: Regulations Cost More than Federal Income Taxes
Part 6: The Federal Government “Eats” 31 Percent Of The U.S. Economy