Regulations–Good or Bad?

There are hundreds of federal regulations that are implemented every year.  They run the gamut from regulations on food safety, environmental protection and drug safety to the more ridiculous.  So why do we hear so much about how government regulation hurts the economy?

As we close out 2016, the American Action Forum, a think tank that focuses on limited government and free markets, has issued a report that says since 2005 the total net cost of finalized federal regulations has topped $1 Trillion.  The cost of the 4,432 federal regulations finalized during that time translates to a total cost of roughly $3,080 per person.   That does not include the cost of lost time, hours spent on compliance and paperwork that would otherwise be spent elsewhere.

Federal regulations during this period racked up a total burden of more than 754 million paperwork hours, enough for about 350,000 full-time jobs, AAF estimates.  “That’s roughly the population of Anaheim, CA devoted solely to federal paperwork,” notes the report.

Let’s face it,some regulations are important and much needed.  But taking a trillion dollars out of the economy in a decade is something that ought to give pause, more so when they come from non-elected government officials.  Some new mechanism to give Congress the power to review regulations with a very high potential economic impact seems reasonable.

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