The only question I have about this is: What took so long?
From a letter Speaker John Boehner sent today to President Obama:
This year the Administration’s current regulatory agenda identifies 219 planned new regulations that have estimated annual costs in excess of $100 million each. That’s almost a 15 percent increase over last year [when there were 191 such regulations], and appears to contradict public suggestions by the Administration this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators is being scaled back. …
I was startled to learn that the EPA estimates that at least one of its proposed rules will cost our economy as much as $90 billion per year. The Administration has not disclosed how many of the other 218 planned rules will cost more than $1 billion, nor identified these rules. This information is of great relevance to the American people, who face so much uncertainty about these new regulatory costs, and to the Congress, where we continue to aim to work with you in relieving unnecessary burdens and helping employers move forward to create jobs.
I am again asking that your Administration provide a list of all pending and planned rulemakings with a projected impact on our economy in excess of $1 billion.
A reporting threshold of only $100 million is far too low. If we only know that each of the 219 new rules would cost at least that amount, we can only say that the aggregate cost is at least $21.9 billion. That’s bad enough — but as Boehner’s letter notes, one of the 219 on its own is projected to cost at least $90 billion. So, the total cost is really at least $111.8 billion, and probably much, much more.
The public ought to know exactly how much more.
Obama can propose all the new stimulus he wants, but any effects will be severely dampened by the $111.8 billion-plus his agencies are taking back out of the economy at the same time. And not even hard-core Keynesians claim there’s a multiplier effect for regulatory costs. This is the bureaucratic version of Bastiat’s broken window fallacy.
A better, no-cost stimulus would be, as I pointed out last week, to put a freeze on these costly new rules.
– By Kyle Wingfield