Snapshot of Burdensome Regulation

Published September 1, 2006

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Regulatory State,” issued in June, found:

  • Regulatory costs hit an estimated $1.127 trillion in 2005.
  • Regulatory costs are more than triple the 2005 budget deficit of $318 billion.
  • Regulatory costs exceed all corporate pre-tax profits, which were $874 billion in 2003.
  • Regulatory costs exceed estimated 2005 individual income taxes of $894 billion, and are far greater than corporate income taxes of $226 billion.
  • Federal regulatory costs of $1.127 trillion combined with outlays of $2.472 billion bring the federal government’s share of the economy to 29 percent, compared to 27 percent a year ago.
  • Agencies spent $38.3 billion merely to administer and police the regulatory state in 2005. Counting the $1.127 trillion in off-budget costs, that brings the total regulatory burden to $1.165 trillion.
  • Agencies reported on 4,062 regulations that were at various stages of implementation throughout the 50-plus federal departments, agencies, and commissions.
  • Of the 4,062 regulations now in the regulatory pipeline, 137 are “economically significant” rules that will have at least $100 million in economic impact. Those rules will impose at least $13.7 billion yearly in future off-budget costs.
  • The five most active rule-producing agencies–the departments of Treasury, Interior, Commerce, and Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency, with 1,808 rules among them–account for 44 percent of all rules in the Unified Agenda pipeline.
  • Of the 4,062 regulations now in the works, 788 affect small business.