Red Tapeworm 2014: Regulations Cost More than Federal Income Taxes

This is Part 5 of a series taking a walk through some sections of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (2014 Edition).

We’ve noted that regulatory costs exceed half the level of federal spending, but the costs are largely undocumented and that official Washington doesn’t particularly care.

Regulatory costs now easily exceed the overall level of individual income taxes collected by the federal government. And they vastly exceed revenue from corporate taxes.

As the chart nearby shows, regulatory costs now tower over the estimated 2013 individual income taxes of $1.234 trillion (individual income tax receipts had fallen substantially during the economic downturn and are rising again at the moment).

Regulations and income taxes

Corporate income taxes, estimated at $288 billion in 2013, are dwarfed by regulatory costs (corporate tax receipts had declined by half during the recent downturn).

As the last bar shows, regulatory compliance costs are approaching the level of pretax corporate profits, which were $2.19 trillion in 2012. This is the first time pretax profits have topped $2 trillion, incidentally.

Red Tapeworm 2014 Series
Part 1: Guess Which Is the Largest Government on Earth?
Part 2: Tardy Bureaucrats Gone Wild
Part 3: Reckoning the Dollar Cost of Federal Regulation
Part 4: Regulations Catching Up to Government Spending?