Under Obama, 11,327 Pages of Federal Regulations Added

September 10, 2012 - 5:28 PM
Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the cost of federal regulations on the U.S. economy on Sept. 10, 2012 at the business federation's headquarters in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Over the past three years, the bound edition of the Code of Federal Regulations has increased by 11,327 pages – a 7.4 percent increase from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011. In 2009, the increase in the number of pages was the most over the last decade – 3.4 percent or 5,359 pages.

Over the past decade, the federal government has issued almost 38,000 new final rules, according to the draft of the 2011 annual report to Congress on federal regulations by the Office of Management and Budget. That brought the total at the end of 2011 to 169,301 pages.

That is more than double the number of pages needed to publish the regulations back in 1975 when the bound edition consisted of 71,244 pages.

The figures were released on Monday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., when the business federation held its annual Labor Day briefing on the state of the economy, obstacles to job creation and the burden of regulations on the labor market.

Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, distributed a handout of a Congressional Research Service analysis of a 2008 study commissioned by the Small Business Administration that estimated the annual compliance price for all federal regulations at $1.7 trillion that year.

Seventy percent of the regulations were economic, accounting for $1.236 trillion of the annual cost. The other regulations were, in order of cost, environment regulations ($281 billion), tax compliance ($160 billion) and occupational safety and health and homeland security ($75 billion).

“I think these kinds of figures, if you put yourself in the place of a business person you’ll find them fairly mindboggling,” Johnson said.

Economists with the Chamber also analyzed the OBM’s report on the study, calculating that if every U.S. household paid an equal share of the federal regulatory burden, it would mean a $15,586 tab for each household in 2008.

Ronald Bird, economist with the USCC, told CNSNews.com that the 7.4 percent increase in pages of regulations during the first three years of the Obama administration is higher than the increase over the first three years of the George W. Bush administration (2001, 2002, and 2003) when the publication grew by 4.4 percent.