Red Tape Rising 2016: Obama Regs Top $100 Billion Annually
By James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz
The Obama Administration is responsible for an unparalleled expansion of the regulatory state, with the imposition of 229 major regulations since 2009 at a cost of $108 billion annually (using the regulatory agencies’ own numbers). The actual costs are far greater, both because costs have not been fully quantified for a significant number of rules, and because many of the worst effects—the loss of freedom and opportunity, for example—are incalculable. The need for reform is urgent. The White House, Congress, and federal agencies routinely breach legislative and even constitutional boundaries, and increasingly dictate lifestyle choices rather than focusing on public health and safety. Immediate reforms should require legislation to undergo an analysis of regulatory impacts before a floor vote in Congress, and require congressional approval of each major regulation before it can take effect. Sunset deadlines should be set in law for all major rules, and independent agencies should be subject—as are executive branch agencies—to the White House regulatory review process.
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.