Thanksgiving Regulation Report: 3,415 Rules & Regs

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the federal government dropped its Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is supposed to shed some light on what regulatory agencies are doing. Specifically, it's a compilation of agency-reported federal regulatory priority actions at several stages. CEI regulatory policy expert Wayne Crews delves into the data, such as it is. Takeaways include:

  • The new Agenda reports on at total of 3,415 rules and regulations at the “active,” “completed” and “long-term” stages. That’s up from 3,305 last year, but down from 4,062 at this point in 2012.
  • A costly subset of the completed rules are unambiguously up. The rules in the Unified Agenda pipeline that officially qualify as “economically significant” ($100 million-plus in annual impact) numbered 200 in 2014, compared to 191 last year and 224 the year before that. This is taking into account, active (131), completed (31), and long-term (38).
  • Still it’s unclear what the Agenda really reveals these days when it comes to overall rules, and more clarity is needed, particularly as “regulatory dark matter” competes with ordinary regulations and even actual laws.
  • The Unified Agenda is data, but not necessarily information. Congress will need to reform such regulatory disclosures, as well as address accountability issues, ideally by requiring that Congress approve all major agency regulations before they are binding on you and me.

> View the full Forbes commentary, Big Sexy Holiday Fun With The 2014 Unified Agenda Of Federal Regulations