CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

While the number of new regulations last week was normal, their cost was abnormal, totaling well over half a billion dollars just for the four rules meeting the “economically significant” threshold.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 58 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 22 minutes.
  • So far in 2014, 3,325 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,552 new regulations this year.
  • Last week, 1,541 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
  • Currently at 72,535 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,495 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year; 43 such rules have been published so far this year, four in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $8.18 billion to $11.65 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
  • 270 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2014, 632 new rules affect small businesses; 96 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • The FDA issued a pair of lengthy regulations for calorie labelling and other nutritional information for food from vending machines and restaurants. Their combined annual estimated cost ranges from $110.8 million to $117.6 million.
  • A commitment to transparency is a hallmark of a just and efficient government. A new rule affecting the Medicaid program states, "[W]e are unable to predict and estimate the impacts of this final rule, including those of individual hospitals or groups of hospitals." The impact analysis, such as it is, does estimate that the rule meets the Congressional Review Act’s definition of a “major rule,” costing $141 million or more annually. I am estimating this rule to cost the bare minimum to meet that threshold, even though that almost certainly underestimates the actual cost.
  • A new Medicare rule is more transparent, and is also quite expensive. In the rule’s phrasing, it "will result in an annual transfer of more than $100 million from providers and suppliers to the federal government,” which it later on estimates will range from $327.4 million to $545.7 million.
  • A technical amendment to the federal government’s National Poultry Improvement Plan.
  • Energy efficiency tests for washing machines.
  • The Copyright Royalty Board has adjusted the composers’ royalty rate for musical performances at colleges and universities.

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.