This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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President Biden announced partial student loan forgiveness for people earning up to $125,000. The number of new final regulations this year topped 2,000. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from treating wine to acquiring tantalum.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 86 final regulations last week, after 64 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 57 minutes.
  • With 2,031 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,077 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 25 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 33 the previous week.
  • With 1,384 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,097 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 412 notices last week, after 427 notices the previous week.
  • With 14,714 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 23,294 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,458.
  • Last week, 1,421 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,258 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 319 pages.
  • With 52,659 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 79,786 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 26 such rules so far in 2021, one from the last week.
  • That is on pace for 39 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 is for net savings of $12.48 billion to $19.59 billion, according to numbers provided by the agencies themselves. 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 savings of $18.19 billion to net costs of $14.01 billion. The 2020 figure is for net savings of $2.04 billion to $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • There are 169 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. That is on pace for 256 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 570 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 864. Forty-six of them are significant, on pace for 70.
  • 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.