Once skeptical of executive power, Obama has come to embrace it

The Obama administration in its first seven years finalized 560 major regulations — those classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having particularly significant economic or social impacts. That was nearly 50 percent more than the George W. Bush administration during the comparable period, according to data kept by the regulatory studies center at George Washington University.

An army of lawyers working under Mr. Obama’s authority has sought to restructure the nation’s health care and financial industries, limit pollution, bolster workplace protections and extend equal rights to minorities. Under Mr. Obama, the government has literally placed a higher value on human life.

And it has imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.

Many of the new rules are little known, even as they affect the way Americans eat, love and die. People can dine on genetically engineered salmon. Women can buy emergency contraceptive pills without prescriptions. Military veterans can design their own headstones.

In its final year, the administration is enacting some of its most ambitious rules, including limits on airborne silica at job sites, an overhaul of food labels to clarify nutritional information, and a measure making millions of workers eligible for overtime pay.