CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Just another week in the world of regulation:

  • 81 new final rules were published last week, down from 84 the previous week. That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 4 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All in all, 1,195 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year. If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,707 new rules.
  • 1,210 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 25,307 pages. At this pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 77,156 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 19 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $15.2 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. 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.
  • Two economically significant rules were published last week. There were a total of 8 significant actions last week, as defined by Executive Order 12866. So far, 139 significant final rules have been published in 2012.
  • 27 of last week’s final rules affect small business. So far this year, 243 final rules affect small businesses. 35 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • Another health care bill regulation was published this week, claiming savings of $1.59 billion in Medicare spending over ten years. If the cost estimates are correct, this is the rare economically significant regulation that saves $100 million or more per year. Since the savings are in government spending instead of compliance costs, I am scoring it as zero-cost for this year’s regulatory compliance cost tally. I do the same with rules that increase spending, but not compliance costs.
  • An economically significant rule from the Food and Nutrition Service will transfer $1.4 billion over 5 years from the federal government to school lunch programs. Compliance costs (paperwork, etc.) are estimated at $3.7 million over 5 years, so I’m adding a fifth of that, or $740,000, to this year’s regulatory compliance cost tally.
  • If you are planning on fishing for any of the 7 species of northeast skate, there are new regulations you should be aware of.
  • The Navy Department is revising its rules for avoiding collisions at sea.

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