Some 10,215 new federal regulations from the Obama administration are costing consumers, businesses and the economy overall $46 billion annually, more than five times the regulatory price tag of former President Bush in his first three years in office. Worse: just implementing those regulations had a one-time additional cost of $11 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis provided to Washington Secrets.
The analysis backs up complaints from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that the president's regulations are stalling the economy and employment growth. It also calls into question Obama's promise to put the brakes on new regulations and his State of the Union bragging about issuing less red tape than Bush.
The fact is, said Heritage's review, hundreds more costly regulations are coming, especially those targeting energy companies and Wall Street. They threaten "to further weaken an anemic economy and job creation," said Heritage's James Gattuso and Diane Katz.
While there is no central agency that collects regulation information, Katz and Gattuso mined the Federal Register and other government databases to get their numbers. What they found was that while Obama has bragging rights to claiming he's put into place fewer regulations than Bush, his cost far more.
The $46 billion price tag calculated by Heritage is staggering, as are those hitting the economy the hardest. Just consider the regulations tagged as "major" for costing $100 million or more. Obama's team issued 106 on private industry since taking office, compared to 28 by Bush. Last year alone, Obama's administration issued 32 major regulations impacting everything from clothes dryers, to toy labels.
Heritage said that most expensive regulation of 2011 was from the Environmental Protection Agency, which added five major rules costing $4 billion. Among them, stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators, for a cost of $2.6 billion annually for compliance.
The regulations are also hitting workers through higher fees on items such as checking accounts.
"The president cannot have it both ways: having identified over-regulation as a problem, he must take real and significant steps to rein it in. At the same time, Congress--which shares much of the blame for excessive regulation--must establish critical mechanism to ensure that unnecessary and excessively costly regulations are not imposed on the U.S,. economy and Americans," said Gattuso and Katz. "Without decisive steps, the costs of red tape will continue to grow, and the economy, and average Americans, will be the victims."