90 Miles From Tyranny : We’re Paying More Than Ever for Government to Regulate Us

Thursday, May 28, 2015

We’re Paying More Than Ever for Government to Regulate Us

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., claims Americans are suffering from Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which hostages begin to have misplaced positive feelings toward their captors. The captors in this case are the federal regulators who impose some 2,400 new regulations each year, and the senator suggests Americans are not sufficiently wary of their resulting ill effects.

According to a recent report by economists Susan Dudley and Melinda Warren, the cost to taxpayers of writing and enforcing all this red tape is expected to top $62 billion in 2015, about 4.3 percent above 2014 levels. On top of this, the president has asked for a further increase of 5.3 percent for regulatory agencies in 2016. Since 2000, the budgets for these agencies have increased more than 75 percent. This is in addition to the broader economic costs of red tape.

The joint report finds total staff levels within regulatory agencies has increased almost every year since 2001 and now tops 280,000.

“Regulators Budget,” published by the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center and the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, has tracked the total staffing and spending of federal regulatory agencies since 1977. The growth in spending on...

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