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April 21 2011

Regulation is Robbing Us of $1.75 Trillion

Hadley Heath

Collectively, Americans handed over a couple trillion dollars to the government on Monday (Tax Day).  I wish the burden of big government could stop there.

But, as a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, Americans will also lose about $1.75 trillion in the "hidden tax" of federal regulation.

Aptly named "Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State," the report includes among its findings:

• The Federal Register stands at an all-time record-high 81,405 pages.

• In 2010, federal agencies issued 3,573 final rules.

• While agencies issued 3,573 final rules, Congress passed and the president signed into law a comparatively "few" 217 bills. Considerable lawmaking power is delegated to unelected bureaucrats at agencies, an abuse addressed recently in proposals such as the REINS Act.

• Alarmingly, proposed rules in the Federal Register have surged from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010, a jump of 19.3 percent.

• Of the 4,225 rules now in the regulatory pipeline, 224 are "economically significant" meaning they wield at least $100 million in economic impact-this is an increase of 22 percent over 2009's 184 rules.

• Given 2010's government spending (outlays) of $3.456 trillion, the regulatory "hidden tax" of $1.75 trillion stands at an unprecedented 50.7 percent of the level of federal spending itself.

The additional $1.75 trillion lost to Americans through federal regulatory schemes is money that could've been spent creating jobs and growing our economy. 

A good approach to cutting big government involves a three-pronged strategy: Spend less, tax less, and regulate less.  In the midst of heated debates about spending and taxing - let's not forget that deregulation is an important step toward freeing American business and the American economy. 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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