CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Just another week in the world of regulation:

  • 77 new final rules were published last week, the same number as the previous week. That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 11 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All in all, 1,030 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year. If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,625 new rules.
  • 1,475 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 22,426 pages. At this pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 77,243 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 17 such rules published so far in 2012 cost 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.
  • One economically significant rule was published last week. There were a total of 7 significant actions last week, as defined by Executive Order 12866. So far, 121 significant final rules have been published in 2012.
  • 13 of last week’s final rules affect small business. So far this year, 195 final rules affect small businesses. 30 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • This week’s economically significant rule is part of the health care bill. It makes changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Drug Benefit programs. Its cost is primarily increased government spending, not private sector compliance, so I am scoring it as zero-cost in our running tally. How much new spending is there? “We estimate that the Discount Program will increase Medicare costs by $1.3 billion during FY 2013 through FY 2018.” But that isn’t the only new spending.“The costs to the Federal government associated with these provisions, as scored in the April 15, 2011 final rule (76 FR 21432), were estimated to total $3.6 billion during FY 2011 through FY 2016.”
  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service passed a rule liberalizing the federal government’s golden nematode policy.
  • Our friends at the Agricultural Marketing Service are decreasing the assessment rates for pistachios and dried prunes (note the redundant phrasing; prunes are dried plums) grown in certain states. They are also raising the assessment rates for mangoes. Assessments are involuntary fees collected from farmers based on how much they grow.

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