An annual report issued by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) shows that the U.S. government imposed $1.17 trillion in new regulatory costs in 2008. That almost equals the $1.2 trillion generated by individual income taxes, and amounts to $3,849 for every American citizen.
According the 2009 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, the government issued 3,830 new rules last year, and The Federal Register, where such rules are listed, ballooned to a record 79,435 pages.
“The costs of federal regulations too often exceed the benefits, yet these regulations receive little official scrutiny from Congress,” said CEI Vice President Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., who wrote the report.
“The U.S. economy lost value in 2008 for the first time since 1990,” Crews said. “Meanwhile, our federal government imposed a $1.17 trillion ‘hidden tax’ on Americans beyond the $3 trillion officially budgeted” through the regulations.
In addition to noting the number and scope of the regulations, the report also detailed their economic effects by noting that federal regulations gobbled up roughly 10 percent of the country’s economic output last year.
I linked to this a while ago but it’s worth linking to again… In short every presidential administration and every Congress since Ronald Reagan left office has grown government.
When Richard Nixon left office the Federal Register contained just over 29,000 pages. It ballooned to roughly 58,000 pages under Ford, and to nearly 73,000 pages under Carter. Under Ronald Reagan it shrank to roughly 55,000 pages, since then it has grown steadily to over 79,000 pages at the end George W. Bush’s term.
The said reality is those regulations represent a “stealth tax” on everything we do. Complying with federal environmental, health and safety, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year… Costs that ultimately end up being passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices on goods and services.
You can read the full report on Competitive Enterprise Institutes’s web site.