That astonishing figure comes from a new Heritage Foundation report entitled Red Tape Rising.
Using the regulatory agencies’ own numbers, the Heritage report puts the actual costs to the economy of this proliferation of regulations during the Obama presidency at $108 billion annually.
As enormous as the financial burden created by these regulations is, they also represent an incalculable loss of freedom and opportunity. The executive summary notes:
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.
The Daily Signal breaks down some of the consequences of this rampant regulation making:
- Restricted access to credit under the hundreds of rules unleashed by the Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute
- Fewer health care choices and higher medical costs from the Affordable Care Act
- Reduced Internet investment and innovation under the network neutrality rules dictated by the Federal Communications Commission
The worst offender may be the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan,” which costs $7.2 billion a year (many say this is a conservative estimate) and is described as the first direct attempt to regulate green house gasses.
The Heritage report says that the problem with excessive regulation didn't begin with President Obama. According to the report, President George W. Bush, while restrained in his first term, permitted the number of new regulations to soar in his second term. Obama and Bush II regulations, according to the report, cost the U.S. economy around $176 billion a year.
What can be done about these crippling regulations? Heritage proposes:
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.
No issue is more important for growth than getting our regulatory mania under control.