Regulatory Overload = Cost Overload = Tyranny By Design

A big Hat Tip to Doug Ross@Journal for leading me to this article by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The article,  titled Ten Thousand Commandments 2013, is their annual review of the Federal Regulatory State. Because of its brevity, I’m going reproduce it here with emphasis added by me:

Full Document Available in PDF

The scope of federal government spending and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’s reach extends well beyond the taxes Washington collects and its deficit spending and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions—perhaps trillions—of dollars every year over and above the costs of the official federal outlays that dominate the policy debate.

Highlights of the report:

• Total costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.806 trillion in 2012. For the first time, this amounts to more than half of total federal spending. It is more than the GDPs of Canada or Mexico.

• This is the 20th anniversary of Ten Thousand Commandments. In the 20 years of publication, 81,883 final rules have been issued. That’s more than 3,500 per year or about nine per day.

• The Anti-Democracy Index – the ratio of regulations issued to laws passed by Congress and signed by the president – stood at 29 for 2012. That’s 127 new laws and 3,708 new rules – or a new rule every 2 ½ hours.

• Regulatory costs amount to $14,678 per family – 23 percent of the average household income of $63,685 and 30 percent of the expenditure budget of $49,705 and more than receipts from corporate and personal income taxes combined.

• Combined with $3.53 trillion in federal spending, Washington’s share of the economy now reaches 34.4 percent.

Please take a moment and think about the figures that I put in bold. Every time a new law or regulation is written, the federal government has a little bit more control over our lives. As the power of the federal government grows, the opportunities to abuse that power also increase. And, think about the costs. Think of all these laws and regulations as a huge anchor that the private sector economy has to drag along while it tries to grow.

There is a small favor for which we should be grateful. There are so many laws and regulations that the government can not possibly enforce them all uniformly. Imagine if the government agencies like the IRS, the EPA and, OSHA had enough enforcement agents to make every citizen and business to comply with the letter of every regulation. The economy would come to a screeching halt. And so, the laws and regulations are selectively enforced. And, that in itself is a form of tyranny.

So how did we get in this mess? The short answer is that it is the nature of governments to accumulate more and more power. Even in this very special place we call America with our government Of The People, By The People, and For The People where our founders created a constitutional republic that included specific limitations on the power of the federal government, by its very nature it was destined to grow in power. Think about our two house legislature. We call the people we elect Senators and Congressmen. But, there is another name for them: Lawmakers. And so, for about two hundred and forty years our “Lawmakers” have been making laws and every law gives a little more power to the government. The Executive branch of our government is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the laws passed by the Legislative branch. But, before the Executive branch can enforce the laws of Congress, it, through its bureaucracy, must first write enabling laws and/or regulations before it can carry out the wishes of Congress. And, We The People have been complicit in this growth of government. Every time something bad happens somewhere I cringe when someone invariably reacts by saying THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW! That’s true, isn’t it?

The insanity in the asylum will just keep getting more insane.

Well. that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

11 thoughts on “Regulatory Overload = Cost Overload = Tyranny By Design

  1. I can recall years ago when the first reg regarding the amount of water we could have in our toilets. Passed by congress no less. Now no longer need congress be involved. Latest is the control of our microwave. Some unelected government drone decides how we live.

  2. No government voluntarily gives up power. It only grows. That reminds me of the story about the opening of the Herbert Hoover library. Someone said, “Your library is small” and he replied “yes, but since it’s a government institution it’ll only get larger.”

  3. We give up a little more freedom every time a law is passed and slowly we are losing our freedom. The problem is that it is so slow and it takes generations so too many people do not even realize what is happening to them, and that is exactly what the plan has been all along.

    1. Exactly, Steve. This stealth revolution by the progresives has been under way for a very long time. They declared war against Americ in 1013 and didn’t bother to tell anyone. I think it was Sam Donaldson who said after the elections that the one Republic meme that got under his skin was “we want our country back”. He said here’s a news flash: “it’s not your country anymore. It’s ours.”

  4. Yes. It’s the regulatory leviathan which the most dangerous and costly to me, I guess b/c of the insidiousness. Most people will never learn/understand the stats you’ve shared. Worse than that, we can never assign a stat for the numbers of people who never build a business, never create a product, and never provide a new and useful service b/c the entrepreneurial desire is being sapped right out of the society.

    I absolutely wish the govt would/could enforce them all uniformly. It is the fact that it hangs over our head, but only strikes sometimes, which makes it so tyrannical. We live under the opposite of Rule of Law b/c of this selective/random enforcement. We live under Arbitrary Rule, and if we all had to suffer the full force of these regs well they wouldn’t stay on the books for long.

    Cheers my friend!

      1. Good example.

        Say, I’ve been thinking about an old post of yours where you wondered about how to fix the cultural decay, including in American schools. Did you see my last couple of posts? B/c I’m actually kinda on fire about this dream of a homeschool facility.

        Homeschoolers generally get a great education, a chance at more independence, good values and principles, and a sense of community. The one thing they lack is the 4 walls to hold all this.

        Its like a revelation to me. If large and vibrant homeschool communities build it, folks will come. In droves.

        Sorry for the off topic comment! Just bursting at the seams at them moment!

        My best

      2. Lin, I am a big, big fan of those who have stepped up to the plate and taken on the heavy responsibility of homeschooling. I think homeschooling is the most important movement in America today. I do have to wonder when the government will try to put an end to homeschooling, like Germany/ Keep up the good fight, my friend.

      3. Thanks CoF. I think this idea of a homeschool facility could really do a lot to preserve this freedom against future onslaught. The more visible, familiar and mainstream it is, the harder it would be to destroy it. My best to you. Have a great weekend.

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