Cost of U.S. regulatory burden exceeds Canada’s GDP

Every time a government agency creates a new regulation, it costs the American people more money. Often, if the U.S. Congress is hesitant to tax and spend, it will regulate. Instead of paying for a programme directly, Congress can simply require the private sector and/or lower-level governments to pay for its desired initiatives. However, the hidden regulations cost taxpayers just as if they were a direct tax.

  • In 2001, U.S. regulatory agencies that are unaccountable to voters issued 4,132 rules, while Congress passed and the president signed into law just 108 bills.

  • Regulatory costs of $854 billion are equivalent to 8.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

  • In 1998, the median two-earner family's after-tax income of $41,846 contained $7,410 in hidden regulatory costs – thus eating up about 18 percent of the after-tax family budget.

  • U.S. regulatory costs alone are more than either Mexico's or Canada's entire GDP.

    Source: Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr. Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshotof the Federal Regulatory State, Cato Institute, 2002.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin\16 July 2002

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