America’s excessive regulation costs billions of dollars

Some observers of the Clinton presidency are already referring to it as the Age of Regulation. And they are warning that his administration is in high regulatory gear as his time in office draws to a close – and the nation is preoccupied by the undecided presidential election.

  • Critics point to the new ergonomics rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the most notorious example of end-game regulation – published while Congress is in recess, despite negotiations in Congress over what was supposed to be a good-faith compromise.

  • This new rule would affect every workplace in the country based on uncertain evidence of workplace health risks, would micromanage every employment setting and would cost Americans between $4 billion and $100 billion – depending on whether one accepts OSHA's low-end guess or the estimate of the Employment Policy Foundation.

    So add this hugely expensive new rule to the sprawling mass of existing regulations.

  • The Heritage Foundation cites General Accounting Office studies showing that by 1998, the Code of Federal Regulations grew to nearly 135,000 pages – after hitting a low of under 51,000 pages in 1986, late in the Reagan presidency.

  • The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates the total federal regulatory burden costs Americans $700 billion – larger than Canada's entire economy and equal to a hidden tax of about $7,500 a year for the typical two-earner American family.

    Source: Jack Kemp (Empower America, Competitive Enterprise Institute), Economic Mischief, Washington Times, November 22, 2000.

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