Obama Regs Cost Americans $784 Million Every Day the Gov’t Was Open

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda cost Americans $784 million every day the federal government was open for business last year, according to a new report, partly driven by costly environmental and health rules.

Bureaucrats pushed $197 billion in regulatory costs in 2015, including $99 billion in costs due to finalized regulations on industries covering energy producers to food companies to manufacturers. In total, regulators wrote 82,036 pages of rules in the Federal Register last year — a record level.

“A year of federal regulation can produce a numbers-rich discussion: $197 billion in costs, 82,036 pages of regulation, and 127 million paperwork burden hours,” Sam Batkins, regulatory policy director at the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF), writes in a new report released Tuesday.

AAF compiled economic data on all the regulations proposed and finalized by federal agencies last year and found Obama’s agenda cost every voter $838. Obama’s costliest regulations were environmental regulations on global warming, air quality and coal ash.

Obama regs in 2015

Source: American Action Forum

“But beyond these topline numbers, there are real impacts for individuals, businesses, and local governments,” Batkins writes. “Tighter efficiency standards inevitably mean more expensive goods for consumers. More paperwork might mean a business must decide between an expansion or devoting more time to regulatory compliance. New federal rules might place even more of a strain on state budgets.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed some of the most expensive regulations last year. EPA’s coal ash rule was the most expensive regulations put forward last year at $23.2 billion in total compliance costs.

EPA regulators also finalized the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is expected to cost $8.4 billion per year, according to agency estimates. Coal industry estimates, however, show the rule could end up costing up to $79 billion from higher energy costs alone.

The Department of Energy also imposed one of the most expensive regulations last year — a rule mandating more energy-efficient fluorescent lamps. That rule is projected to cost $13.5 billion and increase the price of lamps $12 a piece.

The Obama administration, however, argues that while its regulations are costly, they yield billions more in benefits. AAF found “$89.6 billion in proposed and final rule annual benefits, compared to $32.3 billion in annual rulemaking costs.” But most of these “benefits” were from the dubious benefits claimed in the CPP for reducing coal use.

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