Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
Washington, DC, March 30, 1999 — Federal regulations cost taxpayers $737 billion in 1998, an amount equaling 44 percent of the size of all federal outlays of $1.6 trillion, according to a new report released today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The study, Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Policymaker’s Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, points out that the amount of regulatory state’s annual costs absorbs 9 percent of the US gross domestic product.
"Regulations cost the typical family $7,239 in 1998 – up from $6,800 in 1997," writes Wayne Crews, author of the paper and director of competition and regulation policy at CEI. "That’s 20 percent of the after-tax budget. More is spent on regulation than on medical expenses, food, transportation, recreation, clothing or savings."
The paper points to the risk that new government programs will increasingly be funded by more off-budget regulations as opposed to new taxes or deficit spending. Congress is not held responsible for the cost of these new regulations. Some of the findings of the study include:
"The proper way to police the regulatory state is to treat it the same way the spending state is treated: Congress must be made directly accountable, to the extent possible, for the costs that agency rules inflict on the public," stated Crews. "Maximizing congressional accountability by requiring Congress to vote on agency rules would fulfil citizens’ rights to 'no regulation without representation.'"
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy institute dedicated to the principles of free markets and limited government. To obtain a copy of the study, contact CEI at 202-331-1010.