WASHINGTON – The economic burden of federal regulation in the United States has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, particularly affecting the nations manufacturers, according to a report an industry group released Tuesday.
The average number of major federal regulations – those expected to have an economic impact in excess of $100 million – that have been finalized each year has risen with each recent administration, according to the report.
Under President Bill Clinton, it was 27 a year. The number rose to 35 under George W. Bush and stands at 44 a year between 2009 and 2011 under President Obama.
The increasing number of regulations has harmed the manufacturing sectors production, the report said. All aspects of manufacturing are impacted negatively by the myriad regulations.
David Montgomery, the principal investigator on the report for NERA Consulting, which was commissioned by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, added that the cost of regulation has been growing substantially faster than industry output.
The manufacturing industry report calculates only the cost of regulation and does not address the benefits of cleaner air, energy efficiency and other goals of such rules.
The role of regulation in the U.S. economy has been a subject of heated debate in the 2012 presidential race.
Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney has called regulation a hidden tax and says that the economy has been harmed by the whims of unaccountable bureaucrats pursuing their own agendas. The Obama administration last year initiated a government-wide review of regulations that was supposed to remove or improve those that are outdated, unnecessary or too burdensome.
Exactly how to tally up the costs and benefits of rules is complicated.
The report uses the federal government estimates of regulatory costs in compiling its figures.
But that doesnt count the impacts of the regulations for which the federal government doesnt estimate a cost. It also leaves out the costs imposed by thousands of minor regulations.