This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The best news of the week was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising that vaccinated people can safely go mask-free pretty much anywhere. Inflation is likely creeping upwards, due to monetary policy decisions and rapid spending increases. While it won’t return to Carter-era levels, an extra percentage point or two of inflation would slow down the COVID recovery. A hacked pipeline led to a gas shortage on the east coast and predictable calls for price gouging legislation. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from solar-powered airports to triangle pigtoe.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 60 final regulations last week, after 55 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 48 minutes.
  • With 1,145 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,111 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 48 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 35 the previous week.
  • With 798 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,168 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 408 notices last week, after 534 notices the previous week.
  • With 8,131 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,095 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,933 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,458 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 289 pages.
  • With 26,631 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 72,367 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 16 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with none in the past week. This is on pace for 43 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 216 new rules affect small businesses. Five 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.