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Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, 2020 Edition

June 10, 2020

Federal regulations act as a hidden tax, often unnecessarily limiting individual freedom and hampering economic progress.

From the study:

The cost of government extends even beyond what Washington collects in taxes and the far greater amount it spends. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations and interventions affect the economy by hundreds of billions—even trillions—of dollars annually. These regulatory burdens can operate as a hidden tax.7 Unlike on-budget spending, regulatory costs caused by government are largely obscured from public view. As the least disciplined aspect of government activity, regulation can be appealing to lawmakers. Budgetary pressures can incentivize lawmakers to impose off-budget regulations on the private sector rather than add to unpopular deficit spending. 

All too often federal regulations impose unnecessary limits on peoples liberties, hamper economic growth, and fail to produce the benefits intended by the regulations. New regulations should have to pass a strict cost benefit analysis, and existing unnecessary or counterproductive regulations should be rescinded.

Wayne Crews is vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former Cato Institute scholar.