How much does regulation cost?

(Flickr / Heather)

(Flickr / Heather)

Because of excessive regulations, fewer people are able to work and America’s economic competitiveness suffers. Carrie Sheffield of Opportunity Lives recently reported on one example of unnecessary rules harming low-income families, but a new website aims to track the aggregate effect of all the regulations finalized by federal agencies.

Regulation Rodeo, a product of the American Action Forum, tracks all of the regulations proposed and finalized and analyzes the additional cost and paperwork they will require.

The results are shocking. In the last 7 years, the government has finalized 2,597 new regulations, costing almost $734 billion and adding more than 500 million hours of required paperwork.

According to the site, 150 million hours of that additional paperwork has come from regulations related to Obamacare. The Dodd-Frank Act has added 60 million paperwork-hours and almost $21 billion.

“At agencies’ current pace of about 4,000 regulations issued annually, a new federal rule is created roughly every two hours. Lay the 170,000 pages of the Code of Federal Regulations end to end and it would leave a trail of impenetrable text 29.5 miles long,” said Kevin Kosar at The Weekly Standard.

These new rules are disastrous for small businesses, who have a harder time keeping up with the constant changes to compliance forms. “Where growth is strong, in franchises, job creators are unfortunately uniquely burdened by recent regulatory efforts,” said Sam Batkins, Director of Regulatory Policy at the American Action Forum.

Research by the ADP Institute recently concluded that more than one-third of midsized business owners were fined or penalized for not following the rules correctly.

A recent study also reported on Dodd-Frank’s consequences for community banks. Small community banks simply cannot afford the armies of lawyers required to understand and follow all of the necessary restrictions. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last month accused regulators of being unnecessarily “confrontational” in their interactions with bankers.

Scrolling through the Regulation Rodeo database, the names of the regulations are almost indecipherable. If the names are so complicated, how can we reasonably expect businesses to know what the rules are?

Each week, the American Action Forum also publishes a post summarizing the week’s new regulations. At the end of 2014, Batkins offered a sober assessment of the year. “President Obama’s pen and phone imposed $181.5 billion in regulatory costs during 2014, including proposed and final rules,” he said. “In 79,066 pages of regulation, Americans will feel higher energy bills, more expensive consumer goods, and fewer employment opportunities. ”

Published on Opportunity Lives

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One response to “How much does regulation cost?

  1. I wonder: Do as many regulations help small business,es, banks, and the poor as hurt?

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