Costs of Federal Regulation Reach New Heights

Costs of Federal Regulation Reach New Heights

Americans Burdened by Government’s “10,000 Commandments”
June 29, 2006

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006—A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report on federal regulation finds that while the number of new rules issued in 2005 declined slightly from the year before, costs are at record levels compared to other economic measures. Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., author of the report Ten Thousand Commandments, reports that regulatory costs exceed all pretax corporate profits ($874 billion) and all personal income taxes ($894 billion).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


President Bush proposed $2.77 trillion in discretionary, entitlement, and interest spending in the federal budget. Although those costs do fully account for the on-budget scope of the federal government, environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations add an estimated $1.13 trillion in off-budget costs every year.


“As we approach Independence Day this weekend, anyone who looks at the scope and complexity of the federal regulatory state is struck by the growth of government since the nation’s founding,” said Crews. “In the republic’s early days the kind of intrusive, detailed rules so prevalent today simply didn’t exist. In the years since, the creep of new regulations has resulted in an unwieldy mass of expensive rules that attempt to control things which would have shocked the Founding Fathers.”


There are now 4,062 new rules and regulations at various stages of implementation throughout 50-plus federal departments, agencies, and commissions with 137 of them expected to have annual economic impacts of over $100 million each. These new “economically significant” are expected to add another $13.7 billion in future off-budget costs.


“At the very least, future federal budgets need to acknowledge and document the ‘off-budget’ costs of regulation. Only then will Americans have the real truth about the federal government’s reach in their lives,” Crews concluded.