If you’re feeling a bit of a pinch in your wallet these days you may want to examine some of the new government regulations which have come into effect since Barack Obama has been in office. It’s an effect which isn’t always clear to the layman because federal regulations seem to exist in a far off bureaucratic world which isn’t directly tied to people’s day to day lives in the same way that taxes and utility bills are. But the reality is that all of the regulations which flow out of Washington impact the entire economic reality of the country and all the bills are eventually paid by working citizens. So how many regulations are we talking about and what’s the total bill? A new study tallies up the numbers and it’s probably a lot more than you may think. (The Hill)
Since President Obama took office in 2009, the federal government has issued 600 major regulations totaling $743 billion, according to a new study from the conservative American Action Forum.
The Obama administration issues an average of 81 major rules, those with an economic impact of at least $100 million, on a yearly basis, the study found.
That’s about one major rule every four to five days, or, as the American Action Forum puts it, one rule for every three days that the federal government is open.
“It is a $2,294 regulatory imposition on every person in the United States,” wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, who conducted the study.
The definition of a “major regulation” used by the American Action Forum is a fair one. An impact of $100M is a good round number, though there are countless other smaller regulations which come and go on a weekly basis. One new major regulation every few days adds up pretty quickly. Barack Obama is already on a record setting pace, and if the projections in this report prove accurate, he’ll top $830B in new regulatory costs before he leaves office.
We already know about the big ticket items which are currently impacting costs. Many of them flow from EPA greenhouse gas regulations, but there are even more to come this year. We can easily break the $800B mark with just few of them.
Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks (proposed cost $31 billion): the second round of efficiency standards for trucks and engines could get the administration halfway to its estimated regulatory tab. The rule is scheduled to be final by the summer.
Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (proposed cost $13.3 billion): this little-known rulemaking, co-authored by every cabinet agency, could also impose more than 12.1 million paperwork burden hours.
Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Housing ($4.1 billion): the most expensive of the proposed efficiency standards, this measure was published in June. A midnight rush could allow the administration to publish the final rule by next January.
Read over the report rather than disregarding this as something that just happens in Washington. Each and every one of these regulations sends a shock wave down the economic food chain and affects the prices you pay for everything from a gallon of gas to a new pair of shoes. These regulations may not show up on the receipt you get at the store with your purchases as a separate line item, but they affect what it costs manufacturers and distributors to create their products and ship them to market. None of those costs are simply absorbed by the supply chain. In the end, you pay the entire bill.