Open wide for a big helping of regulations

While most Americans were feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, the Obama administration may have been thankful that people were not paying attention to the 2,224 new regulations it is proposing.

The government is required to publish an agenda of regulatory activities twice a year and, as the Daily Caller observes, “Obama has developed a habit of releasing the agenda late on Friday before a major holiday,” noting that the Spring 2015 agenda, containing more than 2,300 regulations, was released the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. The Fall 2015 agenda came out the Friday before Thanksgiving, same as last year.

Regulations this year will cost an estimated $183 billion, according to the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute, and the Federal Register is up to nearly 73,000 pages.

“Over the last 20 years, the regulatory burden has more than doubled in real terms, while the number of total restrictions has grown by about 220,000 — a 25 percent increase,” Patrick McLaughlin and Oliver Sherhouse of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University revealed in a recent article.

The worst offender is the Environmental Protection Agency, whose 150,000 restrictions comprise about 14 percent of all federal regulatory restrictions and are more than two and a half times the 58,000 restrictions of the second-worst agency, the Internal Revenue Service.

Regulatory growth is hardly a partisan phenomenon, however, as data from the Mercatus Center illustrate. Since the days of Jimmy Carter, the number of new restrictions in the Code of Federal Regulations has generally grown at roughly same rate regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat occupied the White House.

The scope of the lawmaking authority that Congress has delegated to executive branch agencies is rather frightening, and provides the inertia for continued government growth. As Mssrs. McLaughlin and Sherhouse assert, this “delegate-and-forget-about-it doctrine led to a fourth branch of government — the regulatory agencies — producing far more law than Congress itself, and accumulating a stockpile of regulations that is so large that it would require nearly three years for a person to read through the current regulatory code.”

The sheer number of laws and regulations cries out for a housecleaning, which would give us something to truly be thankful for.

Reprinted form the Orange County Register

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