Ten Thousand Commandments 2016


I have written several posts recently, here and here, about the need for faster economic growth in the U.S. and how to achieve it. Part of the problem is the huge size of the federal bureaucracy and the enormous and rapidly growing number of rules which they issue each year.
Capture3The magnitude of this problem is clearly shown in the above chart included in the latest annual report of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  According to the CEI:

  • Federal regulatory cost reached $1.885 trillion in 2015, which averages out to $15,000 per U.S. household for just one year. This exceeds the $1.82 trillion which the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes in 2015.
  • In 2015, 114 laws were enacted by Congress while 3,410 rules were issued by agencies, 30 rules for each law enacted.
  • Some 60 federal departments, agencies and commissions have 3,297 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline.
  • The 2015 Federal Register contains 80,260 pages, the third highest page count in history.
  • The George W. Bush administration averaged 62 major (having an economic impact exceeding $100 million) regulations annually, while the Obama administration has averaged 81 major regulations annually over seven years.

One way to do something about out-of-control regulation is a recently proposed Regulation Freedom Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

  • “Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of both the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

Another intriguing approach to attacking regulatory overkill is given by Charles Murray in his new book, “By the People, rebuilding liberty without permission.”  The point is that there are measures which can be taken to address this particular aspect of our slow growth problem.

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2 thoughts on “Ten Thousand Commandments 2016

  1. Jack,
    Having directed non-profit organizations for three decades, I have much experience working with local city, county, state, federal and private funding agencies, so I agree wholeheartedly with any effort to reduce paperwork and detailed regulations. And also having been a participant with federal agencies to reduce and streamline some of the regulations in reference to the HIV/AIDS bureaucracy, as well as the National Institute of Drug Abuse, I cannot help but be pessimistic about any reform. it is such an enormous task to get any changes done. I really never determined who is the more selfish or domineering in such efforts. Is it the government or the agencies receiving the funds? Both sides seemed to be focused more on securing the flow of money than the efficiency and accountability of the programs receiving the funds. All I can say is that with the ongoing,changing software programs, it may become paperless but I cannot imagine, human nature being what it is in the need for job security, much improvement on this level until there is much more sense of individual security of life’s basic needs for all individuals. So, good luck!

    • I understand that there will be huge resistance to cutting back on federal rule making. But the mechanism suggested – a constitutional amendment to involve Congress in the process – should have much popular appeal, both inside and outside of Congress.

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