This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The number of new regulations this year topped 3,000, ending the week at 3,068, and the 2021 Federal Register topped 70,000 pages. Inflation went up to 6.8 percent, the highest since 1982, back when the 1970s stagflation was still winding down. Congress is working hard to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. While most people would do this by spending less, Congress is instead going to raise the ceiling. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from wool trust funds to commuter airplanes.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 77 final regulations last week, after 67 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 11 minutes.
  • With 3,068 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,264 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 29 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 29 the previous week.
  • With 1,976 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,095 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,102 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 384 notices last week, after 357 notices the previous week.
  • With 20,865 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,197 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,811 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,224 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 301 pages.
  • With 70,687 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 75,199 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 24 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 $8.83 billion to $13.72 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 344 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 366 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 859 new rules affect small businesses; 88 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.