President Obama’s 3,554 published rules and regulations throughout the past year come with a heavy burden on U.S. taxpayers. They cost the average household nearly $15,000, according to Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) annual report on government waste, fraud and abuse.
“The federal government diligently tracks total tax collections and annual spending levels,” the report explains. “However, it does not officially account for total government-wide regulatory costs. While certain regulations are important to keep us safe, the current Administration has churned out new regulations at a pace that exceeds 3,500 per year.”
Lankford’s Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball – released Monday – highlights how “burdensome regulations” impact American families.
While in the past year Obama signed 224 bills into law, he also published 3,554 final rules. “This means that for every law passed by Congress, the federal government created 16 new rules,” according to the report.
These 3,554 regulations impose significant costs on the American economy. The National Association of Manufacturers calculated the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 to be a staggering $2.028 trillion (11 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product). If our $2 trillion federal regulatory cost were a country, it would be the ninth-largest in the world.
In 2013, the federal government received $1.234 trillion from individual income taxes. However, the federal government’s regulations cost individuals and business more than $2 trillion. One year later, in 2014, the government published 80 “major” regulations considered “economically significant” costing taxpayers more than $100 million each year.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, covering the cost of federal regulations costs American families close to $15,000 of their average income.
“Can you imagine what your family could do with an additional $14,974 for groceries, gasoline, and savings? Congress owes it to the American people to carefully scrutinize the regulatory process to ensure regulations work for the people,” Lankford’s report notes. “We can balance responsible regulations with cost-effective solutions that work for families.”
A recent example of a rule that would burden taxpayer’s in Lankford’s report is the Waters of the U.S. rule the Environmental Protection Agency finalized at the end of August. According to Lankford’s report, the rule would cost businesses $500 million each year and creates “federal intrusion in private water and land rights.”
A federal court has temporarily blocked the rule after 27 states challenged its enforcement.
Lankford’s report highlights another regulation that would burden taxpayers from the Department of Labor. Its proposed rule would lose roughly $1.3 billion each year in productivity.
The Department of Labor’s rule would “double the salary threshold exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees, known as the ‘EAP’ or ‘white collar’ exemption. In other words DOL plans to expand who is eligible for overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week.”
According to Lankford, the proposed rule would force “every company to give people a raise, the clear consequence of the rule will be fewer jobs with [benefits] in rural America and fewer opportunities to grow into management. The U.S. needs more job opportunities not fewer.”
The proposed rule’s analysis estimates the proposal will cost roughly $255 million in direct expenses to employers each year. The annual paperwork burden of the regulation is estimated to be 231,250 hours. The regulation overall will result in 21.2 million hours of lost labor each year, which amounts to $1.3 billion in lost productivity.
A third regulation Lankford highlights as burdensome in his report comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” regulation put forward in August aims to increase diversity in rich neighborhoods in order to reduce housing discrimination.
Lankford argues the Fair Housing Act from 1968 gives HUD the power to address discrimination based on race, color, religion, familial status, national origin, sex or disability. “But new regulations that make a federal housing agency the ultimate arbiter of neighborhood design and tie federal funding to specific plans directly contradict what many communities want for the future,” the report challenges.