Unfortunately, this burden is about to get even heavier. As Gattuso and Katz write:
"This flood of red tape will undoubtedly persist, as hundreds of new regulations stemming from the vast Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, Obamacare, and the EPA's global warming crusade advance through the regulatory pipeline -- all of which further weakens an anemic economy and job creation."
Not everyone is sorry to see the regulatory load get heavier, however. After all, more rules mean a bigger federal workforce. One recent study found that the regulatory staff at federal agencies went up about 3 percent between 2009 and 2010. It's estimated to go up another 4 percent in 2011.
That's right -- the employment situation isn't bad for all groups. The ones making it difficult for the rest of us to hire new people and conduct business are doing fine.
This can't continue. Congress can help free us from this red tape by taking some important steps: 1) Require congressional approval of every major new rule. Right now, they can veto, but it rarely happens. 2) Create a Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis -- a necessary check on the executive branch's regulatory powers. 3) Establish a sunset date for each federal regulation, to keep outdated rules from outliving their usefulness.
We can keep the economy from flat-lining. But we need to realize that costly, unnecessary regulations are part of what's making it so critically ill.
Ed Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).