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Hidden tax of U.S. federal regulation reaches $1.88 trillion

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Staff writer ▼ | May 13, 2015
Hidden tax
Research   The Competitive Enterprise Institute:

In the latest edition of Ten Thousand Commandments, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reveals the latest on the "hidden tax" of America's regulatory state.

The annual report indicates a $1.88 trillion hit to Americans consumers and the U.S. economy in 2014 due to federal regulations and intervention.

Authored by CEI Vice President for Policy Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., the report analyzes the size, scope and cost of federal regulations, how they affect the American public, and offers recommendations for how members of Congress can increase transparency and accountability when it comes to new and existing federal regulations.

Economy-wide regulatory costs amount to an average of $14,976 per household – around 29 percent of an average family budget of $51,100. Although not paid directly by individuals, this “cost” of regulation exceeds the amount an average family spends on health care, food and transportation.

If U.S. federal regulation was a country, it would be the world's 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India.

In 2014, agencies issued 3,554 new regulations compared to 224 new laws. That's a pace of 16 regulations for every law.

Many Americans complain about taxes, but regulatory compliance costs exceed what the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes for last year—by more than $160 billion.

The 2014 Federal Register contains 77,687 pages, the sixth highest page count in its history. Among the six all-time-high Federal Register total page counts, five occurred under President Obama.

Some 60 federal departments, agencies and commissions have 3,415 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline.

The top six federal rulemaking agencies account for 48 percent of all federal regulations. These are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services and Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.


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