July 7, 2016a hearing on An Introduction to Regulatory Budgeting, and I was invited to testify by Chairman Tom Price (R-GA).
Yesterday I testified in the House Judiciary Committee...
June 30, 2016a hearing on “Examining the Use of...
June 17, 2016
Hundreds of people have been burrowing into this week’s D.C. District Court of Appeals 2-1 decision giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) everything it wanted and more in its campaign for net neutrality regulation, or conversion of the Internet into a public utility with FCC as overlord.
Entropy Economics’ Bret Swanson summed it up well:
The court upheld not only the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecom service (a switch from its previous designation as a lightly regulated Title I information service), it also allowed the FCC...
June 14, 2016
We here at the Competitive Enterprise Institute appreciate the release of the new report by the Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens, issued as part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” plan for policy reform. It’s always been the case that there are more regulations than laws, but increasingly, (the $19 trillion dollar debt aside) if we're missing regulations, especially in Obama's pen and phone era, we're missing government's biggest impact in the economy. Just controlling federal spending will no longer suffice.
There are a lot of things wrong with the way we make regulations in...
June 6, 2016
When I wrote about the proliferation of federal agency guidance documents and other regulatory “dark matter” that skirts Congressional oversight and even normal notice and review procedures down in agency bowels, I noted I’d lay out some actions Congress can take to deal with off-the-books rulemaking.
One already happened. Sen. Mike Lee’s new Article 1 Regulatory Budget Act, introduced in late May, promises to “Eliminate the abuse of regulatory ‘dark matter’” in part by requiring notice-and-comment for guidance costing $100 million plus, and to allow civil actions for...
May 26, 2016
It is often said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, something particularly true for the small businessperson. The “Small Business Anthem,” heard on the Small Business Advocate radio program, goes in part:
Even though you make payroll every Friday,
You don’t have a guaranteed paycheck.
You’re a small business owner, and you eat what you kill.
May 18, 2016
When corporations pay taxes, you pay taxes. That is, while it’s popular to tax rich corporations, and even if they write the check to the U.S. Treasury, part of the cost gets passed down to consumers.
Like the taxes they are required to pay, businesses pass regulatory costs on to consumers, too.
The costs of regulations borne by businesses and lower-level governments end up seeping downward to households through direct hand-offs and in broader indirect economic effects.
As the authors of a major National Association of Manufacturers study on regulatory costs observed:
It is worth emphasizing that all regulatory costs are—and can only be—borne by individuals, as consumers, as workers, as stockholders, as owners or as taxpayers. In other words, the distinction between “business” and “individuals” focuses on the compliance responsibility, fully...
Regulatory Cost Blowout: Burden Is Triple the Deficit, Greater than Personal and Corporate Income Taxes CombinedMay 11, 2016
The last time the federal government balanced the budget was between 1998 and 2001. But those were days when a $2 trillion federal budget was regarded as high.
Now it is regulatory costs that approach $2 trillion, while annual federal spending (now $3.7 trillion) will top $4 trillion in short order. I detail this in CEI’s annual report, 10,000 Commandments.
The upshot is off-budget, largely hidden regulatory compliance costs of $1.88 trillion are equivalent to half of all federal outlays. That is sobering enough, but things are more dramatic in Washington’s high-spending culture of perpetual deficits.
Regulations are sometimes like off-budget spending, in the sense that they are costs the population is compelled to bear...
May 4, 2016
A glance at the overall count of rules and regulations leads one to suppose regulatory burdens are decreasing. After all, since Obama took office the total number of rules and regulations appearing annually in the Federal Register has moved from 3,830 in Bush’s last calendar year to 3,410 in 2015, as I describe in the new 2016 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.
There’s a deeper story though, that shows how strategic efforts to avoid traditional regulations have actually increased the burden on taxpayers. Through various tactics such as differing rule burdens, executive orders, guidance documents, and a well-documented strategic...
April 27, 2016
Recently we looked at some prominent recent examples of federal agency guidance—costly to-dos for the private sector. Today I wanted to say just a quick a word about the proliferation of guidance overall.
Rather than bothering with the burdensome rule-making process, they use faster and more flexible means of imposing mandates. To avoid running afoul of the...