Red tape’s $2 trillion cost cited in call for reform
By Evan Lips | April 6, 2016, 14:11 EST
WASHINGTON – An assortment of conservative and libertarian groups is calling on Congress to implement a regulatory budget that would clamp down on the hundreds of billions of dollars the groups say are wasted in complying with unnecessary rules and regulations.
“Like federal spending, regulations and their costs should be capped, tracked and disclosed annually,” the group said in a letter to Congress last week. The groups highlighted the results of an annual governance survey from Gallup which showed that while almost half – 49 percent – of Americans say the government regulates business too much, a near-record low, 21 percent, say it regulates too little.
“The presidency of Democrat Barack Obama has seen a marked rise in the percentage saying ‘too much,’ with the figure typically hovering around 50 percent” since 2009, the Gallup study noted. “By contrast, the average rate of Americans choosing this response was 36 percent over the eight years of Republican George W. Bush’s administration.”
In their letter, the 15 organizations calling for regulatory reform pointed out that ultimately, consumers shoulder much of the costs of over regulation. The group includes Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The group advocates for a regulatory budget proposal from U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), chairman of the House Budget Committee, who included a separate section on federal regulatory reform.
The annual cost of implementing federal regulations “are as high as $1.88 to $2.03 trillion,” Price points out in his proposal. Since Obama took office in January 2009, his administration has printed more than 556,00 pages of regulations in the Federal Register, including 81,910 pages last year alone.
“Since 2009 the White House has imposed more than $728 billion in additional federal regulatory costs, with over $100 billion in further costs proposed since the beginning of 2015,” Price adds.
Price’s resolution calls for adopting “least-cost regulatory alternatives” and requiring the creation and implementation of an “annual, congressional regulatory budget that establishes annual costs of regulations and allocates these costs amongst federal regulatory agencies.”
The advocates for a regulatory budget also blame the current administration, saying it “has escalated the use of agency guidance documents, memoranda, bulletins, manuals, circulars and other proclamations to circumvent our elected officials.”
By so often circumventing Congress, the Obama White House has obscured the impact of its actions, the letter says. “This means lawmakers do not know much about the size and scope of the problem.”
The group also notes that this isn’t the first time a regulatory budget has been proposed and stresses the fact that a Democrat, then-Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, pushed a similar measure in 1979.