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Wayne Crews - 10,000 Commandments 2013

Wayne Crews - 10,000 Commandments 2013

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The scope of federal government spending
and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’s
reach extends well beyond Washington’s
taxes, deficits, and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars annually over and above the official federal outlays that dominate policy debate.
The scope of federal government spending
and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’s
reach extends well beyond Washington’s
taxes, deficits, and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars annually over and above the official federal outlays that dominate policy debate.

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Published by: Competitive Enterprise Institute on May 21, 2013
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04/30/2014

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Crews:
Ten Thousand Commandments 2013
1
In February 2013, the Congressional BudgetOffice (CBO) reported outlays for fiscal year(FY) 2012 that weighed in at $3.538 tril-lion and projected spending for FY 2013 at$3.553 trillion.
1
President Barack Obama’sfederal budget proposal for FY 2014 seeks$3.778
 
trillion in discretionary, entitlement,and interest spending.
2
In the previous fiscalyear, the president had proposed outlays of $3.803 trillion.
3
For the entire Obama ad-minisitration, no formal budget has passedboth houses of Congress and has been signedby the president. The best that might be saidis that we have so far avoided entering an era of regular $4 trillion in annual spending.Trillion-dollar deficits were once unimagi-nable; such sums signified the level of bud-gets themselves, not of shortfalls. PresidentObamas 2014 budget projects smaller defi-cits, with 2013’s claimed $901 billion to fallto $575 billion in 2018, but to rise thereaf-ter.
4
At no point is spending projected to bal-ance in the coming decade. To be sure, many other countries’ government outlays make upa greater share of their national output, com-pared with 40 percent for the U.S. govern-ment.
5
However, in absolute terms, the U.S.government is the largest government on theplanet—whether one’s metric is revenues,expenditures, deficits, or accumulated debt.Only seven other nations top $1 trillion inannual government revenues, and none butthe United States collects over $2 trillion.
6
Regulation: The Hidden Tax
The scope of federal government spending and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’sreach extends well beyond Washington’staxes, deficits, and borrowing. Federal envi-ronmental, safety and health, and economicregulations cost hundreds of billions, perhapstrillions, of dollars annually over and abovethe official federal outlays that dominatepolicy debate.Firms generally pass the costs of some taxesalong to consumers.
7
Likewise, some regu-latory compliance costs that businesses face will find their way into the prices consumerspay and into wages earned. Precise regula-
Ten Thousand Commandments
An Annual Snapshotof the Federal Regulatory State
201320th Anniversary Editionby Clyde Wayne Crews Jr.
Executive Summary
The government’sreach extendswell beyond Washington’s
taxes, decits, and 
borrowing.
 
2
Crews:
Ten Thousand Commandments 2013
tory costs can never be fully known because,unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted and oftenindirect—even unmeasurable as such.
8
Butscattered government and private data existon scores of regulations and on the agenciesthat issue them, as well as estimates of regu-latory costs and benefits. Compiling someof that information can make the regulatory state somewhat more comprehensible. Thatis one purpose of the annual
Ten Thousand Commandments 
report, highlights of whichfollow.
•
This publication marks the 20th an-niversary of the first edition of 
TenThousand Commandments 
.
9
The annualoutflow of over 3,500 final rules—some-times far above that level—has meantthat 81,883 rules have been issued since1993.
 
•
The Anti-Democracy Index, the ratioof regulations issued by agencies relativeto laws passed by Congress and signedby the president, stood at 29 for 2012.Specifically, 127 laws were passed incalendar year 2012, whereas 3,708 rules were issued. This disparity highlightsa substantial delegation of lawmaking power to unelected agency officials.
•
This author’s working paper compilation
 “ 
Tip of the Costberg,” largely based onfederal government data, estimates regu-latory costs at $1.806 trillion annually.
10
 
•U.S.households“pay”$14,768annu
-
allyinregulatoryhiddentax,“absorb
-
ing”23percentoftheaverageincomeof$63,685,and30percent
 
oftheexpenditurebudgetof$49,705.•ThemostrecentSmallBusinessAdministration(SBA)evaluationoftheoverallU.S.federalregulatoryenterpriseestimatedannualregulatorycompliancecostsof$1.752trillionin2008.EarlierSBAreportspeggedcostsat$1.1trillionin2005andat$843 billionin2001.TheOfficeofManage
-
mentandBudget(OMB)agreedwiththosefiguresatthetime.
 
Meanwhile,asubsetof106selectedmajorrulesreviewedduring2001
-
2011bytheOMBnotesacumulativeannualcostsofbetween$43billionand$67billion.
 
•
For the first time in history, the esti-mated cost of regulation exceeds half thelevel of the federal budget itself. Regula-tory costs of $1.806 trillion amount to11.6 percent of the U.S. gross domesticproduct (GDP), estimated at $15.549trillion in 2012.
•
Combining regulatory costs with federalFY 2012 outlays of $3.538 trillion indi-cates that the federal government’s shareof the entire economy now reaches 34.4percent.
•
Regulatory compliance costs exceed2011 estimated corporate income taxesof $237 billion and individual incometaxes of $1.165 trillion.
•
The Weidenbaum Center at WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis and the Regula-tory Studies Center at George Washing-ton University in Washington, D.C., jointly estimate that agencies spent $61billion (on budget) to administer andpolice the regulatory enterprise. Adding the $1.806 trillion in off-budget com-pliance costs brings the total regulatory enterprise to $1.867 trillion.
•
The 2012
Federal Register 
stands at78,961 pages. Although shy of 2010’sall-time record-high 81,405 pages and2011’s 81,247 pages, it is the fourthhighest. Three of the four all-time highcounts have occurred during the Obama administration.
•
Federal Register 
pages devoted specifically to final rules stand at 24,690.
•
The 2,898 proposed rules of 2011 repre-sented the highest count of the decade,and the 2,517 in 2012 the highest countsince 2003.
•
 According to the 2012
 
“Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of FederalRegulatory and Deregulatory Actions,” which lists federal regulatory actionsat various stages of implementation,63 federal departments, agencies, andcommissions have 4,062 regulations atvarious stages of implementation. The “Completed” component of these 4,062 rules rose by 16 percent,from 1,010 to 1,172 (after rising 40percent the year before, from 722 to1,010).
For the rst time
in history, theestimated cost of regulation exceedshalf the level of the federal budgetitself.

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