Labor Department Far Outpaces Other Agencies On Regulatory Spending

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The Department of Labor (DOL) is far outpacing other federal agencies when it comes to costly regulations, a regulatory policy expert said Monday.

The DOL is the primary agency tasked with issuing and enforcing workplace regulations. Its regulatory footprint is usually fairly big, but a new onslaught of workplace rules has made costs skyrocket to $40 billion in this past year. American Action Forum Expert Sam Batkins notes in comparison that total regulatory costs are at $62 billion based on the current budget.

“A lot of that is the fiduciary rule.” Batkins told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “That is one of the the most costly regulations we’ve ever tracked.”

The fiduciary rule aims at regulating who can give financial advice when it comes to investments and retirements. It will increase restrictions on those people and groups that provide retirement information. Batkins notes the fiduciary rule alone will add $31 billion in additional regulatory costs. It’s just one of several new labor regulations putting extra costs on the budget.

“More often than not the costs are passed onto the customers,” Batkins continued. “Pretty much all new regulations cause dead weight in the market.”

The fiduciary rule is not the only new regulation adding increased costs to labor regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for instance, has begun implementing a new rule that adds additional protections for workers dealing with crystalline silica. Batkins notes the added protections will increases regulatory spending by $2 billion.

The DOL usually doesn’t have such a high percentage of regulatory costs. The Environmental Protection Agency and Health and Human Services are usually ranked at high percentages, too. The push for new workplace regulations and a lack of regulatory changes from other agencies has propelled the department to consume the majority of spending for the time being.

New regulations come with an assortment of added costs. It requires increased paperwork, hours spent implementing and maintaining the new rule and enforcement. The costs are often very small but when added together can increase overall regulatory spending significantly.

Batkins also warned against rule changes that may not have an immediate regulatory costs but puts increased financial demands on businesses. The National Labor Relations Board, for example, doesn’t have much in the way of regulatory costs but has issued costly rules for businesses.

The DOL did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.

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