President Obama and his fellow Democrats are always berating those spitefully obstructionist Republicans for their supposed lack of focus on job creation and their persistent retarding of the slowest economic recovery, evah because of their — well, actually… it’s tough to tell what, exactly. Something about how Republicans won’t go in for making employment more expensive and inaccessible with a higher minimum wage mandate; or for hiking our out-of-control deficits with more stimulus boondoggles and unsustainable entitlement programs; or for raising taxes so the government can take more capital out of the private sector and better “invest” and redistribute it; or for their endless efforts to disable/do away with the administration’s unwise and ungainly takeover of the entire healthcare industry. I don’t even know.
But if Democrats cared to put a little more of their own focus on actually growing the economy, they might want to reconsider the gargantuan expansion of the regulatory state that’s gone down under President Obama’s direction. While we often pay most attention to the Federal Register, the Competitive Enterprise Institute points to the record of final and permanent rules in the Code of Federal Regulations as another measure of that regulatory expansion — and it ain’t pretty.
Still, the CFR “Archive-Of-All” is big. Very big. Back in 1960, the CFR contained 22,877 pages in 68 volumes.
The pace picked up. The CFR stood at 71,224 pages by year-end 1975, in 133 volumes.
Now, new data from the National Archives shows that the CFR stands at 175,496 at year-end 2013, including the 1,170-page index. (See the breakout below.)
That’s a 146 percent increase since 1975. The number of CFR volumes stands at 235 (as of 2012; the 2013 count remains unavailable for the time being), compared with 133 in 1975.
More recently, at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term (2008), there were 157,974 pages in the CFR.
That means President Obama has added 17,522 pages of regulations in his five years in office; one president growing the regulatory state 11 percent increase in five years.
And yes, the general trend through the presidents has been an ever-heavier regulatory hand — President Bush’s eight-year average was 2,490 — but this is an insane uptick. ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the EPA, and so much more red type, and Democrats still seem confused about why their policies haven’t been able to boost business, hiring, and economic growth. Go figure.