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The cost of regulations: Economic tyranny

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Monday, May 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The big-government Obama administration's propensity for end runs around Congress exacerbates the unchecked growth of federal regulations that diminish both liberty and prosperity.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute ( says that regulating rather than legislating pays for programs with private-sector resources rather than tax dollars. CEI says regulation is “off-budget taxation” — and business owners, workers and families ultimately foot the bill through higher taxes and/or lower wages.

CEI's new 20th-anniversary edition of its “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State” estimates yearly compliance costs at $1.8 trillion — exceeding half of total federal expenditures for the first time, as well as Canada's or Mexico's GDP. And at $14,678 per family, red tape trails only housing among typical household costs.

Since 2009, the Obama administration “has recorded three of the four busiest years for regulatory activity in history.” And this White House is “the unchallenged champion” of “economically significant” new rules expected to cost $100 million-plus, the report says.

Let's call it what it is — another form of tyranny.

Genuine transparency, rigorous cost-benefit analyses, no more agency self-auditing, less delegation of power to bureaucrats and congressional votes on new rules could end regulations' prodigious proliferation, the report's author says.

Too bad this government-knows-best administration is so unlikely to push for any of those reforms.

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