Federal regulations really cost the economy $1.8 trillion per year, not $89 billion as calculated by the Office of Management and Budget, says the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews. So what is the 95 percent of regulatory costs that OMB forgot to count? OMB’s estimate includes only the taxpayer cost of federal regulations, leaving out what the private sector spends to comply with regulations, plus the economic impact of those regulations, and the cost of unfunded mandates on the states. That’s all.
An annual cost of $1.8 billion isn’t pocket change, even when compared to the U.S. gross domestic product, forecast to come in around $15.8 trillion this year. The federal government will spend about $3.8 trillion in 2012.
Crews, who produced the estimate by compiling information from numerous sources, has created a “perpetual working paper and e-book” to keep track of federal regulatory costs. He calls the project “Tips of the Costberg,” and anticipates refining his estimate over time. Crews encourages anyone with information about regulatory cost estimates to share those with him at the Web site, TenThousandCommandments.com.