Washington’s 10,000 Commandments Place Heavy Burden on American Families

Washington, DC, May 21, 2001 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute today released the study 10,000 Commandments: An Annual Policy Maker’s Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, which details the frequently unreported costs that the federal government’s rules and regulations impose on American families and small businesses. This year, the total comes to over $800 billion.

“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. “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.”

4,699 regulations are in the works right now, 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,” 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)





To obtain a printed copy, please contact the media relations department at 202-331-1010 or [email protected]. CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.