This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The economy shrank at an annualized 1.4 percent pace in the first quarter of 2022. The Department of Homeland Security announced a new “Disinformation Governance Board.” Elon Musk bought Twitter. The number of new final regulations this year topped 1,000. Agencies issued new regulations ranging from Klondike Bluffs to changing babies.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 36 final regulations last week, after 41 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and four minutes.
  • With 1,023 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,081 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 36 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 31 the previous week.
  • With 726 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,187 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 494 notices last week, after 526 notices the previous week.
  • With 7,501 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,593 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,458.
  • Last week, 1,298 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,809 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 308 pages.
  • With 25,550 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 76,958 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 10 such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week.
  • This is on pace for 30 economically significant regulations in 2022.
  • For comparison, there were 26 economically significant rules in 2021 and five in 2020.
  • The total cost of 2022’s economically significant regulations so far ranges from net savings of $1.14 billion to $3.74 billion. However, this figure is incomplete. Not all such rules issued this year give the required cost estimates.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net costs of $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 79 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 238 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 284 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 849. Thirty of them are significant, on pace for 90.
  • For comparison, there were 912 rules in 2021 affecting 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.