Federal regulations increased 7.4% during Obama’s first three years

posted at 12:01 pm on September 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Want an insight on why we’re experiencing the worst recovery since the Great Depression?  The US Chamber of Commerce points out that the Code of Federal Regulations has grown at a pace outstripping economic growth — and especially job creation — during the Barack Obama administration, expanding by 7.4%, with a good part of that growth in the first year:

Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages – a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2009, the increase in the number of pages was the most over the last decade – 3.4 percent or 5,359 pages.

Over the past decade, the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new final rules, according to the draft of the 2011 annual report to Congress on federal regulations by the Office of Management and Budget. That brought the total at the end of 2011 to 169,301 pages.

That is more than double the number of pages needed to publish the regulations back in 1975 when the bound edition consisted of 71,244 pages.

The figures were released on Monday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., when the business federation held its annual Labor Day briefing on the state of the economy, obstacles to job creation and the burden of regulations on the labor market.

To put this in perspective, the growth rate in the first George W. Bush term — when he enjoyed one-party control of Washington for a couple of years as well — was 4.4%.  That was bad enough; by 2008, the annual compliance cost to the economy was $1.7 trillion, according to a 2010 Small Business Administration study.  If compliance costs increase at the same ratio as regulations, the Obama administration added nearly $126 billion in compliance costs in three years.

But that ratio may not tell us the whole story.  Regulations still remain to be written for Obama’s two biggest legislative “achievements” — ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank.  The passage of both bills created massive ambiguity on compliance costs, because both bills deferred a huge amount of regulatory production to bureaucrats within the executive branch.  Much of that regulation remains to be written, no doubt delayed beyond the election so as to prevent discussion of the far-reaching implications of the power Congress handed to HHS and other agencies.

When those regimes get fully fleshed out, expect the increase rate of regulation to skyrocket — and investment to decline.


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… and the economy reacted by contracting…

socalcon on September 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

The proliferation of bureaucrats and its invariable accompaniment, much heavier tax levies on the productive part of the population, are the recognizable signs, not of a great, but, of a decaying society.

- William Henry Chamberlain

OhEssYouCowboys on September 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

If those regulations had to do with punishing CEOs, board members and other officers of financial institutions including investment operations, Id be all for them.

Unfortunatey, these regs have to do With the EPA placing shackels on manufacturing and other industry.

rickyricardo on September 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Federal regulations increased 7.4% during Obama’s first three years

Well of course they did, what part of We all belong to the Government now, is it that you didn’t understand?

SWalker on September 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Where’s the empty chair pic with the 1,000s of pages of restrictive regulations sitting in the seat…… aplomb.

This seat is taken !

FlaMurph on September 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

If those regulations had to do with punishing CEOs, board members and other officers of financial institutions including investment operations, Id be all for them.

Unfortunatey, these regs have to do With the EPA placing shackels on manufacturing and other industry.

rickyricardo on September 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

/Yoda: Stupid with this one, Strong it is.

SWalker on September 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

This seat is taken !

FlaMurph on September 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Expiration Date: Nov. 6th, 2012…

SWalker on September 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Clinton: “The era of big government is over.”

POS0bama: “The era of big government is just beginning.”

UltimateBob on September 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Lies by a sitting U.S. Pres. rise 1000% during his first three long ugly years in office.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

New from “NASA” on “climate change”.

The oceans are getting salty due to ,,,,,

drum roll…..!!

“Climate Change”

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com

Full court “press” of lies.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Fluke Obama into oblivion, and mock him eternally.

A bigger hoax there never was, in all the lands.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Only 7.4%? I would have guessed about twice that. Maybe it’s just the aggressive expansion of already existing regulations that makes it seem like a lot more.

platypus on September 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Federal regulations increased 7.4% during Obama’s first three years

I was wondering why the boot on my neck felt a little extra heavy.

dirtseller on September 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

…the governments fleet of cars went up 30%…everything goes up with this group….the private sector must be doing well!

KOOLAID2 on September 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages – a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011.

The real scandal here is the fact that adding 11,327 pages to the Code of Federal Regulations is only a 7.4% increase. 11,327 pages is almost 23 reams of printer paper (12 reams if printed double sided). That’s just the increase in regulations. The total at the end of 2011 of 169,301 pages would require 339 reams of paper single-sided or around 170 reams double-sided.

To put this in a different perspective, that’s over 1 box of printer paper if printed double-sided for just the expansion in regulations. The total regulations would require nearly 17 boxes of printer paper to fully print out double sided.

The operating principle is that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. With this many laws and regulations, how can anyone know what law or regulation they might in violation of?

AZfederalist on September 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

In the mind of the Left the “size” and “scope” of government is evidently measured by one statistic: the number of government employees. I know they think this because they insist that Obama has “shrunken” the size of government because there are fewer government employees (as a result of the recession, BTW).

Conservatives understand that the “size” and “scope” of government is actually determined by the number (and intrusiveness of) regulations, laws, etc. over the individual and the community. The federal government could slash every bureaucracy staff by 50% and the government could still get bigger. The Left can not seem to grasp this.

visions on September 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Only 7.4%? Feels like much more.

JoAnn1965 on September 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The passage of both bills created massive ambiguity on compliance costs, because both bills deferred a huge amount of regulatory production to bureaucrats within the executive branch. Much of that regulation remains to be written, no doubt delayed beyond the election so as to prevent discussion of the far-reaching implications of the power Congress handed to HHS and other agencies.

And who is going to hire workers with this uncertainty?

rbj on September 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The proposed rule on Section 165 of Dodd-Frank is over 300 pages. Fewer than half the rules mandated by DFA have been written. Banks are laying off back-office people and sales people while hiring more and more lawyers and compliance poeple who do nothgn to contribute to profits. My bank has already spent over $200 million on consultants, new hires, and systems changes to comply with DFA.

rockmom on September 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

So with 250,000 pages of NEW federal regulations that are coming with obamacare I think he has certainly increased them way way more than the 7.4 stated in the article. But hey I am sure that a quarter of a million pages in new regulations will improve the care your doctor provides AND decrease costs //sarc

Caseoftheblues on September 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM

The shiny new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently crapped out an 1100-page proposed rule….on simplification of mortgage disclosures.

rockmom on September 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Ok. So it looks like you found an article that was written today. Are you sure about it’s contents? Who cares right!?!?! Pages equals regulations! Math….

Going to be hard to gin up enough outrage with this kind of soft stuff. You need to read other peoples work harder and come up with real link bait!

tommyhawk on September 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

If this is what the fool voters want then let them get ready to stew in their own juices.

rplat on September 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Big Government has this article:

Report: Obama Spent 412 Hours in Economic Meetings, 600 Hours Golfing

Team Romney, RNC or American Crossroad should starting pointing out Barry’s dereliction of duty.

bayview on September 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM

…during the Barack Obama administration, expanding [Federal Regulations] by 7.4%, with a good part of that growth in the first year…

hmmm, and what does The One promise?

…[at the DNC] President Barack Obama outlined a program he said would create a million American manufacturing jobs and new opportunities for a still-struggling nation.

Thanks, but we’re not buying it.

socalcon on September 11, 2012 at 12:27 PM

1100-page proposed rule….on simplification of mortgage disclosures.

rockmom on September 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I really feel sorry for modern comedy writers and comedians. You just can’t make this kind of stuff up.

AZfederalist on September 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Big Government has this article:

Report: Obama Spent 412 Hours in Economic Meetings, 600 Hours Golfing

Team Romney, RNC or American Crossroad should starting pointing out Barry’s dereliction of duty.

bayview on September 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Any other president would have (rightfully) been ripped for this. But Obama gets a pass from the Legacy Media and Dem voters. Why?

visions on September 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

There is one constant with regulations, they all cost the consumer, increase costs, and reduce jobs. Not all regulations have the same effect but none have a cost benefit the consumer.

Dasher on September 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I can’t wait until snarling, finger pointing Obama is sent back to Chicago.

Or could wishing that be considered a threat now, given the (necessarily) skyrocketing rate of violent crime there since his good buddy Rhambo became mayor?

Ok, send him back to Kenya then. I’m sure it’s safer than the streets of Chicago.

wildcat72 on September 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Sweet success!

a capella on September 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

What most don’t know is that any increase in the number or complexity of federal (or state) regulations is that the resulting expense to businesses for compliance increases almost exponentially because, not only is there the hard dollar cost of complaince, but there are soft dollars as well. I have employees working for me (in Human Resources) whose only responsibility is compliance – and that means that I’m paying their salaries just to jump through government hoops. That also means that I cannot use those employees as resources to address issues that might actually be of benefit to the other employees.

natasha333 on September 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

So because the number of pages has increased by 7.4% the conclusion is the number of regulations has increased by 7.4%? Numbnuts.

plewis on September 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM

It is a total mystery to me why obumble is even close in this election…. he has done nothing but damage the country. I understand the black vote, but otherwise fail to understand why he enjoys the support that he allegedly enjoys. God Save America.

ultracon on September 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

With that many regulations, it’s a sure thing that many of them contradict each other. By complying with one, you’ll be breaking another. I’m sure these were written by lawyers, guaranteeing employment for more lawyers.

FoxyLady on September 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM

The hive mind Presidency, if Obama’s the first gay White House inhabitant, I guess that answers who’s the Queen.

Speakup on September 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM

It is a total mystery to me why obumble is even close in this election…. he has done nothing but damage the country. I understand the black vote, but otherwise fail to understand why he enjoys the support that he allegedly enjoys. God Save America.

ultracon on September 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Half of this country is on the dole and Obama is the purveyor of government “free stuff”. If they vote him out then the goose that lays the golden eggs will be gone. He remains a revered figure of the dependent, parasitic class . . . sad but true.

rplat on September 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Obama/Biden 2012!!!

mrscullen on September 11, 2012 at 2:48 PM

To put this in perspective, the growth rate in the first George W. Bush term — when he enjoyed one-party control of Washington for a couple of years as well — was 4.4%.

That was the result of the months-long attempt by the Democrats and media — but I repeat myself — to hand Enron on George W. Bush.

tom on September 11, 2012 at 3:05 PM