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On regulatory 'autopilot': Anchors on the economy

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Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Adding to the struggling economy's burdens, the Obama administration plans to impose new regulations in 2014 that will cost the private sector $143.3 billion, according to the American Action Forum (AAF).

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the administration's “unified agenda” lists “regulations for 2014 from Obamacare, the EPA, Department of Energy, and others, revealing a regulatory system on ‘autopilot.'” The pace of these rules' finalization will affect their economic impact, but they're sure to deal a significant blow.

“Regulations, more or less, operate like hidden taxes,” says Sam Batkins, AAF director of regulatory policy. He estimates that the costs of 2013's new federal rules will total more than $110 billion and that upcoming regulations' impact will be far worse in 2014.

Among what's in store are 15 new “major” rules costing at least $100 million each. There's an EPA rule mandating lower sulfur levels in gasoline that will cost $35 billion and ObamaCare regs costing $1.9 billion, including a Department of Health and Human Services rule requiring that all grocery-store items carry calorie labels. Compliance with just the latter rule will cost an estimated $421.3 billion — and 10 million hours.

Expect the private sector to pass these costs along to consumers whenever it can. But it will be the “government knows best” Obama administration that further saps the economy's vitality, hindering job creation and discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit with regulatory dead weight.

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