Federal Regulatory Budget Is Worth the Effort

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released Toward a Federal Regulatory Budget, a paper that examines why and how Congress must take a more proactive approach to quantifying the unfunded mandate of federal regulatory costs. In today’s out-of-control regulatory system, the burdens of federal regulations increase while benefits grow more uncertain.

Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president of policy and author of Toward a Federal Regulatory Budget says:

“The out-of-control regulatory system is what really needs to be regulated. A regulatory budget is best suited to a constitutional republic rooted in limited government principles and congressional accountability, rather than an administrative state that operates largely without supervision.”

While fully tabulating the direct and especially indirect costs of regulations experienced both at the individual level and economy-wide is virtually impossible, Crews argues that we must try in order to decrease burdens on American taxpayers and increase prosperity. His annual report, Ten Thousand Commandments, highlights the problem of specifically tracking regulatory costs. This paper presents the way forward for Congress to start the process of quantifying federal regulations.

Over the past month, Congress has taken some steps in this effort. A regulatory budget was in Speaker Paul Ryan’s mid-June task force reports and was included in the House Budget Resolution as a “principle.” On the Senate side, Sen. Mike Lee recently introduced a bill that would require the president to create a regulatory budget for agencies and Congress to approve appropriations for implementing rules.

Crews outlines in his paper five hazards to properly tracking the regulatory cost of government that must be avoided:

Hazard 1: Expansion of Government.

Hazard 2: Elevation of Utilitarianism over Individual Rights.

Hazard 3: Impossibility of Measuring Costs.

Hazard 4: Temptation to Include Benefits.

Hazard 5: Agency Complaints that “Cutting Our Budget Costs Lives!”

Read the full report here.