More than 1600 pages of regulations added to Federal Register last week, cost now $1.8 trillion per year

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

Last week, 1,641 pages of regulations were added to the 2012 Federal Register, meaning it now contains over 55,300 pages and is on pace to eclipse 79,000 this year, reports the Competitive Enterprise Institute

A total of 51 new rules were published in those 1,641 pages, including four economically significant rules that have costs of $100 million or more per year.

“That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 3 hours and 17 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” notes CEI.

The week before, 74 new rules were published.

Three of economically significant rules had to do with the health care bill. The first was an electronic record-keeping rule estimated to cost $181,584,656 and the second, assigning health every insurance plan a unique ID number, is estimated to cost between $650 million to $1.3 billion.

The third health care rule has to do with Medicare payments for inpatient care, but cost estimates didn’t provide totals for rule’s many separate components.

So far this year, 2,632 final rules have been published in the Federal Register which could mean that more than 3,800 final rules could be published this if the government keeps up the pace.

Furthermore, 35 economically significant rules have been published with compliance costs of at least $17.3 billion. This number is almost certainly higher, adds CEI, because some of these rules don’t have cost estimates or give a total annual cost. CEI assumes the cost to be $100 million.

Small businesses are impacted by a substantial amount of the final rules as 964 final rules affect small business and 71 of them are economically significant rules bearing high costs.

The total cost of regulation so far this year is more than $1.8 trillion according to CEI, with the Environmental Protection Agency alone adding more than $350 billion in regulatory costs.

In 2011, the Federal Register finished at 81,247 pages, just under 2010’s record-high of 81,405 pages.

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