Heritage study: Almost $70 billion in new regulatory costs from Obama's first term

As I mentioned last night, the frighteningly complicated tale of Uber cab’s troubles in New York City is, sadly, just one type of example of the many regulatory and specially-interested impediments that are wreaking havoc on our struggling economy because of the tendencies of big-government overreach at all levels — local, state, and federal. Especially federal.

ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and a bunch of incoming environmental regulations are only the most visible illustrations of the type of complex, top-down hindrances that the federal government is imposing on businesses across the country, and the Heritage Foundation has come up with an estimate of just how much President Obama’s progressive fondness for government intervention and central planning is costing us from the results of his first term alone:

The most comprehensive source of data on new regulations is the Federal Rules Database maintained by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to the GAO data, federal regulators issued 2,605 new rules during Obama’s fourth year in office. Of these, 69 were classified as “major,” generally defined as having an expected economic impact of at least $100 million per year. Forty-two of these major rules were administrative or budgetary in nature, such as Medicare payment rates or hunting limits on migratory birds; twenty-five were “prescriptive” regulations that imposed burdens on private-sector activity. Only two major rules decreased regulation. During the President’s first term there were 131 prescriptive rules. This compares to 52 such rules imposed during George W. Bush’s first term.

Based on agencies’ own analyses, more than $23.5 billion in new annual costs were added last year, which brought Obama’s first-term total to $69.8 billion. In addition, there were $4.6 billion in one-time implementation costs in 2012, raising the first-term total for one-time implementation costs to nearly $12 billion.


While ObamaCare definitely gets more notice, I’ve often pondered on whether ObamaCare of Dodd-Frank is going to have a more sinister net impact on our economy. Dodd-Frank has all kinds of rules and regs that are going to put a mega-damper on financial activity and end up costing consumers bigtime (Use a bank? Have a retirement acount? “Consumers” means you), both directly and in terms of opportunity costs — and meanwhile, the Obama administration gets to claim that they’ve fixed “the policies that got us into the financial crisis in the first place” while they go ahead and double down on the actual policies that got us here in the first place. Geniuses.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023