This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The government’s Disinformation Board was ended before it began. President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to address the baby formula shortage. The 2022 Federal Register topped 30,000 pages. Agencies issued new regulations ranging from post office closures to pear taxes.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 61 final regulations last week, after 67 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 45 minutes.
  • With 1,207 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,079 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 28 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 32 the previous week.
  • With 828 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,112 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 411 notices last week, after 470 notices the previous week.
  • With 8,776 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,388 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,458.
  • Last week, 1,442 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,205 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 317 pages.
  • With 31.091 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 79,691 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 16 such rules so far in 2021, one from the last week.
  • This is on pace for 41 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 $8.31 billion to net savings of $32.62 billion. However, this figure is incomplete. Three economically significant rules issued this year do not 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 94 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 240 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 333 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 849. Thirty of them are significant, on pace for 77.
  • 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.