Saturday, January 5, 2013

Regulatory burden: How Obama hid the ball

The president is supposed to report on the burden of new regulations twice a year. Barack Obama blew it off until after the election:

By law, each April and October, federal agencies are required to release an accounting of proposed regulations that will have an economically significant impact. That didn't happen in 2012.

Instead, the Obama administration didn't release its 2012 regulatory agenda until on the Friday before Christmas.

"The fact that this snuck in after the election, during the holiday season when people were otherwise occupied with their families, is not surprising," said John Malcolm, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Since the Dec. 21 release, legal experts and analysts have been pouring through the tens of thousands of pages in order to determine their impact. According to an initial estimate by the American Action Forum, which notes that some entries are missing key fiscal data, the cost of implementing the agenda would top $123 billion. Completing the paperwork could require more than 13 million man-hours.

Keep in mind, these are the estimates of the people who are writing these regulations. We suspect that the actual costs, which are as burdensome to the economy as a tax increase (whether or not they are justified for other reasons), will come in much higher. See, for example, this embarrassing case.

To remedy the worst economy since the Great Depression, Barack Obama has spent trillions of dollars of our children's money and the Fed has massively increased the money supply (which is akin to spending even more trillions of our children's money). Sadly, all that stimulus has produced very little growth. One of the reasons is that the federal government has blunted the benefit of its fiscal and monetary policy with an extraordinarily taxing regulatory policy.

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