If there’s one thing the regulatory state could use more of, it’s transparency. In today’s Washington Times, I shine a little light on the FCC:
In Beltway terms, the Federal Communications Commission’s $350 million budget request for 2013 is practically a rounding error. Yet it costs the American people a lot more than that. In fact, it is the third-most-expensive federal agency, but thanks to a lack of transparency, very few people are aware of that fact. That’s because the FCC’s regulations impose compliance costs of $142 billion per year — more than 400 times its budget. Only the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services cost American taxpayers more.
To put that in context, consider that the cost of FCC regulations is in the same ballpark as the entire 2011 national gross domestic products of Vietnam ($123 billion) and Hungary ($140 billion). The $77 billion cost of the FCC’s wireless spectrum regulations alone is bigger than Ecuador’s entire $66 billion economy.