This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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GDP grew 5.7 percent during 2021, giving further evidence of a strong economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, Congress is now considering the 2,912-page America COMPETES Act, which includes more than $52 billion of subsidies to private businesses and countless provisions unrelated to economic competitiveness. Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from school lunches to wood-burning heaters.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 65 final regulations last week, after 58 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and eight minutes.
  • With 241 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,171 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,257 new final regulations in 2021, President Biden’s first year, and 3,218 in 2020, President Trump’s final year.
  • Agencies issued 40 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 29 the previous week.
  • With 132 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 1,737 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021, and 2,102 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 354 notices last week, after 509 notices the previous week.
  • With 1,630 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 21,447 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,341 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 895 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 244 pages.
  • With 4,762 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 62,658 pages.
  • For comparison, the 2021 Federal Register totals 74,352 pages, and 2020’s is 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.
  • This is on pace for 26 economically significant regulations in 2022.
  • For comparison, there were 26 economically significant rules in 2021, and five in 2020.
  • Since neither of 2022’s economically significant regulations give the required cost estimate, we cannot yet provide a total estimate for their combined cost.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from $13.54 billion to $19.36 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.
  • There are 24 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 316 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations” in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 64 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 842. Seven of them are significant, on pace for 92.
  • For comparison, 912 new rules in 2021 affected small businesses, with 101 of them 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.