Report: Federal regulations costing US $1.9T annually

Federal regulations are now costing U.S. taxpayers and businesses $1.9 trillion a year, or $15,000 per household, according to a report released Wednesday which also found thousands of new regulations are in the pipeline.

The annual Ten Thousand Commandments report was released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a fiscally conservative public-policy group.

The report exposes the “hidden” taxpayer costs associated with federal regulations and intervention, according to author Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., vice president of policy at CEI.

“The federal government has become very savvy in hiding costs by expanding their reach beyond taxes into regulations,” Crews said in the report.

The estimated $1.9 trillion cost of complying, according to the report, exceeds the $1.82 trillion the IRS was expected to collect in 2015 personal and corporate income taxes.

The report showed that Congress and the White House, respectively, last year passed and enacted 114 laws, while federal agencies issued 3,410 rules. That ratio of 30 rules per law marks a slight increase over recent years, based on the group's so-called “Unconstitutional Index.”

That finding shows the power of unelected agency officials, the 87-page report concludes.

The report also shows that agencies under the two-term George W. Bush administra­tion issued 62 major regulations annually, compared with 81 a year so far under the Obama administration, which ends its second term in January.

Right now, the administration’s roughly 60 departments, agencies and commissions have 3,297 regulations in various stages of the federal pipeline.

The departments of Commerce, Interior, Transportation, Treasury and Health and Human Services are the top-five rulemaking agencies and account for 41 percent of all federal regulations, the report also found.

Crews argued that regulatory costs get little attention in policy debates because, unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted and often indirect, which make them difficult to quantify.

“But the impacts of burdensome regulations are very real,” Crews said.