Ten Thousand Commandments

The latest edition of my CEI colleague Wayne Crews’ project to document the federal regulatory state is out.

Iain Murray summarizes:

  • Estimated regulatory costs, while “off budget,” are equivalent to over 48 percent of the level of federal spending itself.
  • The 2011 Federal Register finished at 81,247 pages, just shy of 2010’s all-time record-high 81,405 pages.
  • Regulatory compliance costs dwarf corporate-income taxes of $198 billion, and exceed individual income taxes and even pre-tax corporate profits.
  • Agencies issued 3,807 final rules in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over 3,573 in 2010.
  • Of the 4,128 regulations in the works at year-end 2011, 212 were “economically significant,” meaning they generally wield at least $100 million in economic impact.
  • 822 of those 4,128 regulations in the works would affect small businesses.
  • The total number of economically significant rules finalized in 2011 was 79, down slightly from 2010 but up 92.7 percent over five years, and 108 percent over ten years.
  • Recent costly federal agency initiatives include the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule and the Department of Transportation’s Fuel Economy Standards.

We have to rein in Leviathan.

15 thoughts on “Ten Thousand Commandments

  1. Atanarjuat

    Does anyone think Romney will rein in Leviathan (serious question)? For that, my hope is in president Rand Paul in the next go-around.

    1. Daver

      I doubt Romney would go out of his way to do much about this, and it’s not really his task anyway (except insofar as he’s supposed to be a leader). The main hope is that something like Operation Counterweight is successful, and enough fiscal conservatives get elected to the House that they can propose legislation to start nibbling away at the edges.

  2. Larry J

    As someone who has significant business experience, Romney likely knows far more about the impacts of regulations than Obama, Paul or any of the other candidates. That’s no guarantee he’ll do anything about them but he does talk about the impact of regulations on business. Paul is just a fringe candidate IMO and has no chance of ever getting elected to the presidency.

    1. mrmandias

      Maybe, but the sort of big, well-funded business Romney ran wouldn’t have found regulations as stifling as most.

  3. Der Schtumpy

    Rein it in? It’s eating the reins, moved on to it’s own tail and we’re on it’s BACK.

    I think any chance of reining is long gone.

    1. Larry J

      We don’t need no stinking roads to serfdom! Obama wants to build a nation-wide network of high speed rail to serfdom!

  4. newrouter

    does anyone think that the mittens will take his bain experience and apply it to the us gov’t: radical restructuring of the enterprise?

    1. Larry J

      I’m sure he’d like to but the reality is that what we need to happen and what we can get through Congress are likely two very different things.

  5. George Turner

    It’s kind of ironic that a successful nuclear decapitation strike on DC would more likely lead to a leap in freedom and prosperity than a distopian post-America cyberpunk future.

    Sadly, it couldn’t succeed because the Federal Register has grown so thick that the volumes would provide blast and radiation protection for the politicians who bloated it.

  6. ken anthony

    Elegance is the rarest of qualities these days. Can you imagine any modern society formed on a single page document?

    But there’s no need to imagine juvenile brains adding layer upon layer of rules on top of rules. The simple beauty of a few principles are just pearls before swine.

    1. Peterh

      Getting the total legal code condensed to one volume of clear, concise, common English would be a major victory at this point. Something small enough that any man who cared to could reasonably have a copy on his book shelf.

      A candidate might get some attention calling attention to the quantity and readability of the current legal code and pledging to move the law in the direction of such a concise volume.

      1. Daver

        Getting the fire code down to one library shelf would be a major accomplishment. I don’t think there’s a chance of getting the legal code down to something like that.

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