This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Katherine Tai, the new U.S. Trade Representative, gave a major speech affirming President Biden’s commitment to former President Trump’s trade protectionism. Facebook’s website went down for more than five hours, prompting policy wonks from both parties to engage in a mass display of confirmation bias. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from the integrity of horse racing to heraldic items.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 77 final regulations last week, after 93 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 11 minutes.
  • With 2,546 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,298 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 37 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 1,619 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,097 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,222 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 500 notices last week, after 502 notices the previous week.
  • With 17,155 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,148 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 2,057 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,401 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 294 pages.
  • With 56,664 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 73,399 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 13 such rules so far in 2021, three 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 $2.77 billion to $6.61 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 333 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with six in the last week. That is on pace for 431 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 695 new rules affect small businesses; 85 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.