This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
Trade protectionists have taken to calling free traders soft on China. According to John Bolton’s forthcoming book, it turns out to be the other way around. This analyst’s warnings about trade barriers being tools for corruption have turned out to be correct. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from anabolic steroids to single-use chambers.
On to the data:
- Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 53 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 1,429 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,002 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were also 53 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,043 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,235 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 393 notices, for a total of 10,464 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,983 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,192 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,178 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 37,330 pages. It is on pace for 78,424 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Three such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
- The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.38 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published 28 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 275 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new regulations:
- Debt management, though not the kind that Washington could really use.
- Funds for students under the CARES Act.
- Paycheck Protection Program revisions to the third and sixth interim final rules.
- U.S. Customs, the Coast Guard, and the TSA are adjusting their penalties for inflation.
- So is the Justice Department.
- “Certain rigid-walled, single use cultivation chambers and precursor chemicals” are now on the Commerce Control List.
- The effects of COVID-19 on oil pipelines.
- Changes to loan terms under the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Certain anabolic steroid products are now exempt from the DEA’s controlled substances list.
- “The highest standards of professional journalism.”
- This year’s cowcod harvest.
- Gasoline vapor recovery requirements for New Jersey.
- An ominously titled rule for modernization of media regulation.
- Negotiation regulations for deals between TV stations and distributors.
- A rule for the “Release of “Technology” to Certain Entities on the Entity List in the Context of Standards Organizations.”
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.