This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The economy bounced back in a big way, according to numbers released on Thursday. Things are not quite back where they were, but the trend is clear. As the virus retreats, the economy advances. This renders moot most of the plans President Biden outlined in his joint address to Congress on Wednesday. New regulations on the year also passed the 1,000 mark last week. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from underwater cables to tipping.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 60 final regulations last week, after 65 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 48 minutes.
  • With 1,030 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,140 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 28 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 47 the previous week.
  • With 715 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,180 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 437 notices last week, after 507 notices the previous week.
  • With 7,189 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,918 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,318 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,664 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 284 pages.
  • With 23,235 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,838 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 15 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with none in the last week. This is on pace for 46 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 199 new rules affect small businesses. Four 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.