Some rules are needed to keep
order in a society, promote fair dealing, safety, etc. But, regulation
isn't free. The cost of compliance is added to everything that is grown,
mined, manufactured, processed, sold, and consumed. Cost of
regulatory compliance is a real cost of operation for businesses that effects
market competitiveness of goods and services and thus can stifle job creation
as well as salaries and wages.
Taxation is tangible. State, local, and federal tax obligations are paid directly. They show up on a P & L in a line item, or at the bottom of a receipt at a checkout counter. Taxes are visible and easily quantifiable.
But, the cost of regulation is stealth. Seldom does anyone calculate, itemize, post and publish the actual cost of the myriad of rules that control our lives and everything we produce and consume. The cost is just embedded in the price. Whether it’s a box of corn flakes, the energy to heat and cool our home, or a new car, the consumer has almost no ability to know how much of the price they are charged is due to compliance with rules along the way imposed and policed by government to produce the end product for the consumer.
Just as the cost of taxes ultimately gets passed on the consumer, so too does the cost of regulation – except the cost of regulation vastly exceeds the total revenue paid in corporate taxes in America. Additionally, the Obama Administration has been promulgating regulation at unprecedented levels.
CEI, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is one of a growing group of organizations that monitors and quantifies the 80,000 or so pages of federal regulations in America. Annually, CEI published an update called Ten Thousand Commandments. They also provide current updates throughout the year. Following are the bullet points for the August 5 weekly report, the full text of which can be found here.
-Last week, 82 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 80 new final rules the previous week.
-That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and three minutes — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.