Cost of Federal Regulation Grew to $1.16 Trillion

Washington, D.C., July 10, 2008—What goes up and doesn’t come down? The federal budget and the cost of federal
regulations. A new report finds that the
cost of federal regulations on consumers at a staggering $1.16 trillion in

“The bottom line is that federal government regulations ate nearly 10 percent of what the U.S.
economy produced last year,” said Wayne Crews, author of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot
of the Federal Regulatory State

“At the same
time,” said Crews, “government is also spending more than ever before — $2.73
trillion; and the President has submitted a $3 trillion spending plan for next
year. Between paying for government and
paying to comply with government regulations, it’s a crushing burden for
American businesses and workers.”

Among the report’s

  • Given that 2007 government
    spending reached $2.73 trillion, the hidden tax of regulation now
    approaches half the level of federal spending itself.
  • Regulation costs more than
    seven times the $163 billion budget deficit.
  • Regulations cost about as
    much as U.S.
    corporations earn in pre-tax profits ($1.16 trillion versus $1.3 trillion,
  • Regulations cost about as
    much as individual income tax collections ($1.16 trillion versus 1.17
    trillion, respectively).
  • “Economically significant”
    regulations – new rules that cost at least $100 million — increased by 14
    percent between 2006 and 2007, from 139 to 159.

solution to the crushing level of federal regulations on the lives and
livelihoods of American workers? The
report urges a series of reforms to make the cost of regulation more
transparent and accountable to the people.
For example, there should be annual “report cards” on the costs and
benefits of regulations. And Congress
should be required to vote on significant agency rules before they become binding.

the report: Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot
of the Federal Regulatory State