118th Congress Should Confront Biden Administration On Overdue Regulatory Cost Benefit Reports

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Not later than February 5, 2001, and on the first Monday in February of each year thereafter, the President, acting through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shall prepare and submit to the Congress an accounting statement and associated report containing an estimate of the total annual costs and benefits of Federal regulatory programs, including rules and paperwork—

(1) in the aggregate;

(2) by agency, agency program, and program component; and

(3) by major rule.

—Regulatory Right-to-Know Act of 1999

Why is it impossible to get timely reports from the federal bureaucracy on the costs and benefits of federal regulation, even when required by law?

An immediate cause is that no accountability exists for failing to adhere to the laws requiring such reports. The deeper cause is that progressive central planners believe government control of economy and society is inherently beneficial rather than lethal; so it would be contradictory for overseers to regard mere incremental regulation as somehow problematic. From the planner’s’ mindset, liberty stands in their way in pursuit of their all-knowing “modernization” and transformation of the Republic.

Detailed federal budgetary statistics tell you what the bipartisan juggernaut (over) spends, although amid smoke, mirrors and absent audits that obscure harsher realities.

But official reporting on costs and benefits of regulations—always abysmal—continues to slide under Joe Biden, who might well be regarded as the Edward Scissorhands of federal regulatory disclosure.

Much of these Biden escalations of the administrative state in the wake of Trump’s efforts to streamline were covered in the 2022 Ten Thousand Commandments.

Since then, alongside a 2022 roundup of some of Biden’s more recent 2022 regulatory track record, we inquired into the whereabouts of Biden’s tardy Fall 2022 edition of the twice yearly Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is still nowhere to be seen in 2023. This mandatory compilation is where agencies present their regulatory priorities, and its absence is not a good sign: in Spring 2012 under Biden’s former boss Barack Obama, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Regulatory Information Service Center didn’t even bother issuing the Unified Agenda at all, and one hopes Biden’ isn’t taking a cue from Obama’s transgression.

Read the full article on Forbes.