Despite regulatory czar Cass Sunstein’s desire to “to eliminate unjustified regulatory costs and to reduce burdens,” 2012 proved to be a big year for regulators: The American Action Forum estimates the regulatory cost burden grew by $236 billion last year.
According to their calculations, the cost of rules finalized in 2012 far exceeded the regulatory cost of any of the previous 12 years.
The agency with the costliest regulatory agenda in 2012 was the Environmental Protection Agency, imposing costs estimated at $172 billion.
Some of the Obama administration’s biggest legislative accomplishments have piled on the paperwork, the group says.
The Affordable Care Act created 44 million additional paperwork hours through the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Medicare Services and the Food and Drug Administration.
Dodd-Frank created 32.7 million new hours of paperwork through the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
In total, the American Action Forum estimates 86.6 million hours of paperwork for the years top regulations.
Regulatory costs also disproportionately affect smaller companies more onerously than larger ones.
“For example, regulatory costs consumed 6.7 percent of Honeywell’s market cap ($50 billion), compared to just 1.6 percent for General Electric ($221 billion), even though GE reported higher regulatory spending,” American Action Forum writes.
Concerning to many was the plethora of rules awaiting approval that sat at the White House, awaiting finalization, throughout the election.
“At one point, more than 84 percent of all rules under review were sitting at the White House for more than 90 days, 50 percent longer than in 2011,” American Action Forum writes.
The delay has been attributed to politics, as well as having to ensure the rules are legal.
The energy industry continues to face additional regulation, with the coal industry claiming it has been nearly regulated out of existence.
“Despite the common perception that EPA is the sole driver of new burdens, efficiency rules routinely top the list,” American Action Forum finds.”The top two proposed rules in 2012 and the top final rule this year were either energy or fuel conservation rules.”
“This year will be no different, with five conservation rules awaiting approval at the White House.”
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