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.
The 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.