Even though the economic impacts of regulation are largely unaccounted for, regulatory compliance takes hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy annually. This hidden tax costs American households thousands of dollars.
We have a separation of powers crisis. Unelected federal agency personnel now do the bulk of actual lawmaking. In 2017, Congress enacted 97 laws, while agencies issued 3,281 rules. That’s 34 rules issued for every law. Over the past decade, the average has been 28 rules for each law enacted.
Federal agencies also routinely circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act, the law that requires them to provide the opportunity for public comment during the regulatory process. Instead, agencies issue “regulatory dark matter” – thousands of guidance documents, memoranda, notices, and other items – that carries regulatory weight but is difficult to find, understand, and measure.