For America’s businesses, the Obama administration has an unpleasant holiday surprise.
A new report on the government’s regulatory actions was released just before Thanksgiving, and it contains more than 3,300 rules — which the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) estimates will cost more than $1.8 trillion to implement on an annual basis.
At a time when the economy is still struggling to zoom out of its post-recession rut, businesses worry that the crush of regulation is another sandbag weighing down the recovery.
“Back in the ’90s, the federal budget itself was not even $1.8 trillion,” said Wayne Crews, vice president of policy for CEI. “Now we have this entire $1.8 trillion hidden tax, you could say, of government compliance and intervention cost imposed in the economy.”
The latest monthly jobs report from the Labor Department showed gains in hiring in November, which helped push the unemployment rate down to 7 percent, a five-year low. But many of the new jobs added in the last several months were low wage, and more growth is needed for the economy to truly rebound.
Crews reviewed the latest regulation round-up, a twice-annual compilation called the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.
Because the majority of the regulatory costs will be borne by private industry, Crews said that will ultimately mean higher costs for consumers.
According to CEI, the biggest cost tucked into this year’s agenda comes from environmental regulations, adding up to roughly $379 billion.