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Individuals and Businesses Drowning in Ever More Red Tape

The Heritage Foundation released their latest report on the regulatory state yesterday, entitled "Red Tape Rising 2016: Obama Regs Top $100 Billion Annually." The authors are senior research fellows James Gattuso and Diane Katz.

Writing in the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal, the two researchers point out that 20,642 regulations were added during the Obama presidency." Here's the lede:

"The tide of red tape that threatens to drown U.S. consumers and businesses surged yet again in 2015, according to a Heritage Foundation study we released on Monday.

"More than $22 billion per year in new regulatory costs were imposed on Americans last year, pushing the total burden for the Obama years to exceed $100 billion annually."

According to Gattuso and Katz, "These are just a few of the 2,353 regulations of 2015—and there have been 20,642 since Obama took office in 2009."

Here's the summary from their 22-page report (Backgrounder #3127, May 23, 2016):

"The number and cost of federal regulations increased substantially in 2015, as regulators continued to tighten restrictions on American businesses and individuals. The addition of 43 new major rules last year increased annual regulatory costs by more than $22 billion, bringing the total annual costs of Obama Administration rules to an astonishing $100 billon-plus in just seven years.

"The effects of this rampant rulemaking are widespread. Among them: higher energy rates from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan”; increased food prices for both people and pets as a result of excessively prescriptive food production standards; restricted access to credit for consumers and small businesses under Dodd–Frank financial regulations; fewer health care choices and higher medical costs because of the Affordable Care Act; and reduced Internet investment and innovation under the network neutrality rules dictated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"The tide of regulation is expected to rise even higher in 2016—President Barack Obama’s final year in the White House. Historically, rulemaking increases as Presidents scramble to fulfill their regulatory agenda before leaving office. With 144 new rules already in the pipeline, Americans should be prepared for a regulatory surge before year’s end.

"In a post-Obama era, the need for reform of the regulatory system will be greater than ever before. Immediate reforms should include the requirement that legislation undergo an impact analysis before a floor vote in Congress, as well as a requirement that every major regulation obtain congressional approval before taking effect. Sunset deadlines should be required for all major rules, and independent agencies should be subject to the same White House regulatory review as executive branch agencies."

The following chart, showing the number and costs due to major regulations during both the Bush and Obama presidencies, is from the Gattuso and Katz paper:

The paper contains additional charts, which serve to make the report more understandable.

Growls readers. Please take a few minutes to look further at the Backgrounder. Is it any wonder the economy is mired in stagnation? Then write to a member of Congress to express your views about this excessive burden of the regulatory state. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Thomas website (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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