This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Members of Congress introduced five antitrust bills last week. Antitrust activist Lina Khan was confirmed to a seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and in a surprise move, was immediately afterward made FTC chair. There was no Federal Register on Friday in observance of Juneteenth. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from chinch weed to educational loans.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 53 final regulations last week, after 65 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 10 minutes.
  • With 1,454 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,161 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 24 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 27 the previous week.
  • With 965 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,098 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 413 notices last week, after 328 notices the previous week.
  • With 10,137 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,037 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 931 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,050 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 281 pages.
  • With 32,360 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,348 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 20 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with two in the last week. This is on pace for 43 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 301 new rules affect small businesses. Seven 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.