Report: Obama’s Final Year Included a Mind-Boggling, Record-Breaking Number of Federal Regulations

Reason discusses CEI’s 10,000 Commandments with Clyde Wayne Crews Jr.

During the final year of the Obama administration, federal regulations drained more than $1.9 trillion (about $15,000 per family) out of Americans’ wallets, and the number of rules created by the federal government grew to an all-time high.

It’s no surprise that President Donald Trump’s election was due, in part, to his promise to “drain the swamp” and slash the federal regulatory state, which had grown to never-before-seen levels during the last 16 years under the watch of both Democratic and Republican administrations. The latest annual regulatory report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank based in Washington, D.C., provides a sense of the scale of that federal regulatory state—and, perhaps more importantly, provides a benchmark against which to measure Trump’s efforts to cut red tape.

The size of the federal regulatory burden is almost too large to conceptualize, but if you’re willing to try, here’s a few numbers you should know. The $1.9 trillion price tag for all federal regulations and interventions during 2016 is roughly equal to the $1.93 trillion in personal and corporate income taxes collected by the IRS, according to the CEI report. The Federal Registry, that behemoth of a book that annually tracks the growth of the federal leviathan, had more than 95,000 pages added to it in 2016, far outpacing the previous record (set just one year earlier) of 80,260 pages. Including last year’s record-breaker, 13 of the 15 longest registers in American history have been authored by the past two presidential administrations (Barack Obama owns seven of the top eight, with George W. Bush filling in most of the rest).

So far, Trump is on pace to fall well short of those totals in 2017—and that’s just fine.

“This year’s report offers an important benchmark that will allow us to measure President Trump’s commitment to cutting red tape against his predecessors,” says Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president of policy and the author of the annual Ten Thousand Commandments report released Wednesday. “If you compare President Trump’s first four months to the same period under President Obama in 2016, Obama issued 1,164 rules, while the Trump administration issued 897 rules. That’s a 23 percent decrease.”

Read the full article at Reason.