This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

A massive container ship turned sideways and blocked the Suez canal, halting roughly $10 billion worth of international trade per day, or about $400 million per hour. Trade protectionists in both parties had better be celebrating this catastrophe, or else perhaps they are not as consistent in their beliefs as they say they are. Two regulatory reform bills were introduced in Congress recently, the USA Act, which would cut funding to agencies not authorized by Congress, and the Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act, which would create an independent regulatory review commission similar to what CEI scholars have been advocating for years. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from the radio abuse to the Tariff of Tolls.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 49 final regulations last week, after 45 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 44 minutes.
  • With 748 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,281 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 50 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 487 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,136 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 328 notices last week, after 436 notices the previous week.
  • With 5,013 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,987 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 883 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 844 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 286 pages.
  • With 16,281 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 71,408 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting 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. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 12 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with two in the last week. This is on pace for 53 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 130 new rules affect small businesses. Two are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.