Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Survey of the Regulatory State

The latest edition of my colleague Wayne Crews’s annual snapshot of the regulatory state, “Ten Thousand Commandments,” is out. This year’s lowlights include:

  • Estimated regulatory costs, while “off budget,” are equivalent to over 48 percent of the level of federal spending itself.
  • The 2011 Federal Register finished at 81,247 pages, just shy of 2010’s all-time record-high 81,405 pages.
  • Regulatory compliance costs dwarf corporate-income taxes of $198 billion, and exceed individual income taxes and even pre-tax corporate profits.
  • Agencies issued 3,807 final rules in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over 3,573 in 2010.
  • Of the 4,128 regulations in the works at year-end 2011, 212 were “economically significant,” meaning they generally wield at least $100 million in economic impact.
  • 822 of those 4,128 regulations in the works would affect small businesses.
  • The total number of economically significant rules finalized in 2011 was 79, down slightly from 2010 but up 92.7 percent over five years, and 108 percent over ten years.
  • Recent costly federal agency initiatives include the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule and the Department of Transportation’s Fuel Economy Standards.
  • While some people talk about Republican tentacles, this report clearly shows how vast the Leviathan of the federal government has grown, with its massive tentacles extending into every business — and every pocket — in the nation.

Direct link to the PDF is here.