CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

This week in the world of regulation:

  • Last week, 48 new final rules were published, down from 61 the previous hurricane-shortened week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 3 hours and 30 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All in all, 3,304 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,767 new rules.
  • Last week, 1,846 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register, for a total of 69,271 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 78,008 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 45 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $24 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and two other rules have cost estimates that do 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.
  • So far, 319 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
  • So far this year, 623 final rules affect small business; 90 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • Both of this week’s economically significant rules are health care-related. The first rule weighs in at 357 pages, and will increase Medicare spending by $4.571 billion. I am scoring it as zero-cost in our running tally, since this is government spending and not compliance costs.
  • A new OSHA rule regulates longshoremen’s headwear.
  • The second rule alone is 483 pages long. A coherent cost estimate is not given. Since many of the provisions require extensive paperwork and other compliance measures, as opposed to government spending, I am counting it as costing $100 million, the bare minimum needed for its economically significant status. The real cost is almost certainly higher.

For more data, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.