Red Tape Rising

Obama regulation boom


New regulations have cost the economy nearly $40 billion under the Obama administration so far, according to a November analysis by Heritage Foundation research fellow James L. Gattuso. That is more than twice the regulatory burden imposed by George W. Bush's administration in the same period.

Based on federal regulators' own numbers for January 2009 through March 2011, Gattuso concludes that "by almost every measure, the Obama Administration has imposed regulations at a faster clip than its predecessors. And despite a much-hyped initiative to root out obsolete rules, regulatory costs are continuing to rise."

The total cost of regulation has increased every year since 1982, even after accounting for inflation, according to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Fiscal year 2010 broke records with $26.5 billion in new costs. 

And there's more where that came from. The regulatory pipeline contains 144 major new rules, up from 105 at the end of 2008, according to the spring edition of Unified Agenda, a compendium compiled by regulators. Both of those figures are substantially larger than the annual average of 70 rules for 2001 through 2006.