Red Tape Rising: The Regulatory State

By March 26, 2008General

Another good paper by James Gattuso at the Heritage Foundation, detailing the costs of regulations on the economy, “Red Tape Rising: Regulatory Trends in the Bush Years“:

In this election year, Americans will hear a lot about taxes. Candidates for everything from President to vil­lage alderman will present their plans on who should pay and how much. Yet in the political frenzy, one type of tax will almost certainly be overlooked: the hidden tax of regulation. The federal government alone enforces thousands of pages of regulations that impose a burden of some $1.1 trillion—an amount that is comparable to total federal income tax receipts.

And the cost of regulation is getting higher. Despite the claims of critics—and some supporters—of the Bush Administration, net regulatory burdens have increased in the years since George W. Bush assumed the presidency. Since 2001, the federal government has imposed almost $30 billion in new regulatory costs on Americans. About $11 billion was imposed in fiscal year (FY) 2007 alone.

Even more are on the way. Historically, the amount of regulatory activity surges dramatically in the last year of a presidential Administration, whether Repub­lican or Democrat, as regulators, freed from normal political constraints, clean off their desks. A similar surge looks likely for the final year of the Bush Admin­istration unless the President and other policymakers keep a tight hand on the regulatory leash.

Oh boy. Something to look forward to. Given the EPA’s political “compromise” on ground-level ozone regulations, unnecessarily stomping on the economy in the interest of ambiguous health goals, skepticism is warranted.

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