Red Tapeworm 2014: Tell Us — Which Regulations Hurt Your Business as You Grow?

This is Part 24 of a series taking a walk through some sections of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (2014 Edition)

The number of federal regulations for which the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires a so-called “Regulatory Flexibility Analysis” to asses burdens on small business is on the upswing.

The level under President Barack Obama is higher than that of his predecessor, despite the strategic reporting of fewer regulations in the semi-annual Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations

Sustainble, robust economic health is not about artificial stimulation of favored industries while simultaneously overruling prices and plans in crucial sectors like telecommunications, energy and finance.

Every intervention has been tried, and more are touted. For a change, political leaders should better appreciate the increase in regulation as firms grow, and seek to liberalize the economy rather than inflict ever more “management. We can cut regulations that impede wealth creation and job prospects.

I’ve been interested in inventorying laws and regulations that impact a business as it grows. It’s a useful exercise on the road to rolling back excesses.

Below is a rough inventory I’ve compiled, but, it does not address industry-specific rules, which are themselves desperately in need of reform and probably dominate in most sectors (also, the tally doesn't address that which will issue from new financial reform and Obamacare legislation).

Such industry-specific information is all too rare: I came across a superb survey done by the National Automobile Dealers Association, polling their members on an array of costs. There’s one by the American Aviation Institute that’s less comprehensive but very useful.

We need many more bottom-up assessments for the entrepreneurial community to send a collective outburst to Washington D.C. about addressing the federal regulatory burden.

Again, this is a partial list of the basic, non-sector-specific laws and regulations that affect businesses. It assumes nonunion, nongovernment contractor operations, with interstate scope and a basic employee benefits package. 

This is general workforce-related regulation only. Omitted are (a) categories such as environmental and consumer product safety regulations and (b) regulations applying to specific types of businesses, such as mining, farming, trucking, or financial firms.

I don’t want to leave sectors and categories out of the mix; individual tallies like this could be compiled for various lines of work. I welcome any additions and subtractions that complete the picture.

Reach me at wayne [dot] crews [at] cei [dot] org and tell me what hurts, I’ll add it to future sectoral components of this roundup.

OK here we go:

Federal Workplace Regulation Affecting Growing Businesses


  • Fair Labor Standards Act [overtime and minimum wage (27 percent minimum wage increase since 1990)]
  • Social Security matching and deposits
  • Medicare, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)
  • Military Selective Service Act (90 days leave for reservists; rehiring of discharged veterans)
  • Equal Pay Act (no sex discrimination in wages)
  • Immigration Reform Act (eligibility must be documented)
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Act (unemployment compensation)
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (standards for pension and benefit plans)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • Polygraph Protection Act


  • Immigration Reform Act (no discrimination with regard to national origin, citizenship, or intention to obtain citizenship)


  • Civil Rights Act Title VII (no discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, or sex; pregnancy-related protections; record keeping)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (no discrimination, reasonable accommodations)


  • Age Discrimination Act (no discrimination on the basis of age against those 40 and older)
  • Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (benefits for older workers to be commensurate with younger workers)
  • Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) (continuation of medical benefits for up to 18 months upon termination)


  • Health Maintenance Organization Act (HMO option required)
  • Veterans’ Reemployment Act (reemployment for persons returning from active, reserve, or National Guard duty)


  • Family and Medical Leave Act (12 weeks unpaid leave or care for newborn or ill family member)


  • Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act (60-day written notice of plant closing)—Civil Rights Act (annual EEO-1 form)


2014 Red Tapeworm 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?
  • Part 5: Regulations Cost More than Federal Income Taxes
  • Part 6: The Federal Government “Eats” 31 Percent Of The U.S. Economy
  • Part 7: U.S. Regulation Compared to the World’s Largest Economies
  • Part 8: The High Cost of Overcriminalization 
  • Part 9: Thousands of Federal Register Pages
  • Part 10: A Record Number of Federal Register Final Rule Pages
  • Part 11: Federal Register Pages Per Decade
  • Part 12: Number of Proposed and Final Rules In the Federal Register
  • Part 13: Cumulative Final Rules in the Federal Register
  • Part 14: The Expanding Code of Federal Regulations
  • Part 15: A Fourth of July Reflection on Presidential Executive Orders and Loss of Liberty
  • Part 16: Over 24,000 Pen and Phone “Public Notices” Annually
  • Part 17: When Regulations Get Delayed
  • Part 18: Federal Regulatory Disclosure Becomes More Confused
  • Part 19: Federal Regulatory Agenda Consistently Tops 3,000 Rules
  • Part 20: Here Are the Federal Agencies that Issue the Most Regulations
  • Part 21: Big Dollar Federal Regulations in the Pipeline Highest Under Obama
  • Part 22: Completed Economically Significant Rules at Record Levels
  • Part 23: Small Businesses Beaten Down By Recordbreaking Federal Regulations