This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The big story of the week was the United States’ military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Back home, a new school year began and the economic recovery continued with the lowest jobless numbers since the start of the pandemic. The Federal Trade Commission re-filed its antitrust case against Facebook, which a judge had previously thrown out for lack of evidence. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from shipwreck sanctuaries to Georgetown salamanders.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 58 final regulations last week, after 64 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.
  • With 2,056 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,338 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 28 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 56 the previous week.
  • With 1,346 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,056 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 426 notices last week, after 414 notices the previous week.
  • With 13,887 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,544 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,328 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,236 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 295 pages.
  • With 46,947 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 76,218 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 seven 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$1.17 billion to $2.13 billion. 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 279 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with six in the last week. This is on pace for 453 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 563 new rules affect small businesses. 75 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.