The Corner

Leviathan Grows

The latest edition of my colleague Wayne Crews’s annual snapshot of the regulatory state, “Ten Thousand Commandments,” is out. This year’s lowlights include:

  • 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.

While some people talk about Republican tentacles, this report clearly shows how vast the Leviathan of the federal government has grown, with its massive tentacles extending into every business — and every pocket — in the nation.

Direct link to the PDF is here.


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