This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The U.S. government’s debt reached $30 trillion last week. Antitrust target Facebook lost users last quarter for the first time in its history, while its competitors gained users. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from snails to art in architecture.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 62 final regulations last week, after 65 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 43 minutes.
  • With 303 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,156 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 75 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 40 the previous week.
  • With 207 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,156 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021, and 2,102 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 483 notices last week, after 354 notices the previous week.
  • With 2,113 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,010 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,993 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,341 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 282 pages.
  • With 6,757 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 70,385 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.
  • That is on pace for 16 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 29 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 302 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations” in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 85 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 885. Ten of them are significant, on pace for 104.
  • 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.