Ten Thousand Commandments 2013
tory costs can never be fully known because,unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted and oftenindirect—even unmeasurable as such.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.