How many federal regulations are there? Some people count the pages of the Federal Register, which issues proposed and final rules. As a measure of government regulatory activity it might be useful, but otherwise not. Many pages in the Register do not contain regulations, so if you say there were 81,000 pages published in the Federal Register in 2015, it doesn’t tell you much.
75,000 pages of fine print per year, with more than 5,000 significant sets of rules per year on average, taking up roughly 30% of the pages … since 1975 this comes to on the order of 200,000 major rules, using on the order of 800,000 pages of fine print.
This does not count minor rules and regulations not placed in the Federal Register.
Every single one of those regulations carries with it the force of law and, as thousands of businesses in every industry have discovered, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
It’s no wonder that one of the fastest growing job titles in America for the last few decades has been “Regulatory Compliance Officer.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has some good news for beleaguered U.S. businesses. They issued a year-end report that says the second-fewest number of new regulations were issued in history in 2018.
Trump’s first term saw the fewest number of regulations in history.
CEI regulations guru Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. said in a year-end report provided in advance to Secrets that Trump ended the year with 3,367 new regulations. That is the lowest since records were first kept in the 1970s.
But Crews noted that Trump’s number of new regulations is lower. The reason: the government requires a “regulation” to kill a regulation, and Trump is continuing on his promise to kill two regulations for every new one he proposes.
“Obama’s own lowest count was 3,410, not much more than Trump’s new score. But fewer of Obama’s rules would be expected to have been devoted to rollbacks of prior initiatives, the emphasis of Trump’s ‘one-in, two-out’ executive order,” said Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy
“The Federal Register closed out 2018 with 3,367 final rules in all. The only lower count was 3,281 under Trump a year ago, which was the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s,” he added.
Federal Register pages are also way down, winning praise from corporate America and consumers.
Under Trump the daily list of pages totaled 61,308 in 2017 and 68,082 this year.
Former President Barack Obama’s high was 95,894 in 2016, as he was rushing through new rules before Trump took office. However, both both former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had lower pages published in some years than Trump.
Another metric that supports the astonishing turnaround:
In what Crews has dubbed the “Unconstitutionality Index,” Trump has has also slashed the percentage of new rules to new laws passed by Congress and signed by Trump, he wrote in a second report issued Monday.
Trump’s 2018 index was 12: 3,367 new rules compared to 291 new laws.
The Index reached 29 under Obama.
Can you imagine six more years of this? The government will never be the same.