Little-Known Regulations Contribute to Cost of Government

Washington, DC, June 19, 2001 — Many American know that they must work, on average, from January 1 to May 3 (Tax Freedom Day) just to earn enough to pay their taxes for the year. What many people don’t know, however, is that they must also work until July 5 (Cost of Government Day) to earn enough to also pay their share of the burden of federal regulations. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


With Cost of Government Day fast approaching, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is releasing the 2001 edition of the report 10,000 Commandments: A Policy Maker’s Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, which documents the frequently unreported costs that the federal government’s rules and regulations impose on American families and small businesses.


“This year’s regulatory costs, which work out to approximately $7,410 for the median two-earner family, rival the amount paid in 2000 individual income taxes, which was over $950 billion,” noted study author Wayne Crews, an adjunct analyst at CEI and Director of Technology Studies at the Cato Institute. “This means that twenty percent of the average American family’s after-tax budget is consumed by regulatory costs, exceeding all other expenses in the family budget, save housing.”


Currently 4,699 new regulations are in the works, of which more than a thousand impact small business. Unlike tax rates and the federal budget, which are relatively well known, the costs of regulation are often hidden and difficult to calculate. These regulatory compliance costs are the “hidden taxes,” the off-budget government that goes unacknowledged from year to year, as it grows with each succeeding administration. The study explains which agencies are most responsible for the excess of rules and how regulatory costs can be monitored and controlled.


“Regulations should be treated the same way federal spending is treated. Congress should be held directly accountable for the compliance costs—as well as the benefits—that federal regulations deliver to the public. Vital for true accountability, this step would fulfill citizens’ rights to ‘No regulation without representation,’” continued Crews.


Download 10,000 Commandments Executive Summary (PDF)


Download Full Study 10,000 Commandments: An Annual Policy

Maker’s Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (PDF)



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