Cataloging Washington’s Hidden Costs, Part 2: The Unmeasured Impacts of Economic Intervention

From: Enterprise Institute

by Wayne Crews

Back in Part 1 of Cataloging Washington’s Hidden Costs, the topic was the incalculable cost of the loss of liberty in an advanced mixed economy.

On the other hand, “mere” economic costs of regulations are supposed to be the easy part, the stuff we can really get a grip on. Turns out, most economic interference is unmeasured and probably unmeasurable too.

Let’s do a non-exhaustive rundown of some economic costs not included in my rough $1.8 trillion annual regulatory cost placeholder that I have so far.

Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation: Regulations Hinder U.S. Manufacturing

From: Industry Market Trends

Groups Weigh In on Assertion that Regulations Hinder U.S. Manufacturing


Federal regulations continue to pose a financial burden to manufacturing, according to a report published by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). Several trade and government groups offer their assessments of the situation.

The costs to manufacturing brought by federal regulations have increased an average of 7.6 percent annually since 1998, NERA Economic Consulting reported for MAPI. Since 1981, federal agencies have promulgated 2,302 regulations that affect manufacturers.

EPA’s Retrospective Review of Regulations: Will It Reduce Manufacturing Burdens?

Editor’s Note: The complete article from The Federalist Society’s Engage journal is available here.  The following is from the Introduction.

From:  Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups, Volume 14, Issue 2, July 2013

Sofie Miller, Policy Analyst, The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center


The Ozone Treaty That Banned Your Asthma Inhaler

From: Bloomberg

By Cass R. Sunstein

The Food and Drug Administration has outlawed the only over-the-counter asthma medicine in the U.S. It has also banned a number of other asthma medicines that patients like and that doctors have prescribed for them.

In imposing these prohibitions, the FDA hasn’t denied that the banned asthma medicines are safe and effective for their intended use. (Disclosure: While serving as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during President Barack Obama’s first term, I participated in discussions of some issues examined here.)

U.S. SEC chief concerned investors face “information overload”

From: Reuters

* White says some disclosures are obsolete, redundant

* Says historical share closing price may be unnecessary

* Sees no need for rule mandating cyber-attack disclosures

* Says executive compensation reporting is good, warns of overload

* SEC will undertake broad review of reporting rules

By Sarah N. Lynch

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. Oct 15 (Reuters) – U.S. securities regulators are reviewing whether public companies overwhelm investors with “information overload” and should instead streamline disclosures about financial data, executive pay and dozens of other issues.

OIRA Chief Shelanski tells House Panel that Retrospective Review of Regulations is Informed by Executive Orders

From: Jim Hamilton’s World of Securities Regulation

In an atmosphere of increased congressional scrutiny of the cost and benefits of federal regulations, Howard Shelanski, the new Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), told the House Judiciary Committee regulatory reform subcommittee that the retrospective review of regulations is a crucial way to ensure that the regulatory system is modern, streamlined, and does not impose unnecessary burdens on the public. Even regulations that were well crafted when first promulgated, testified Mr. Shelanski, can become unnecessary or excessively burdensome over time and with changing conditions. The retrospective review of regulations on the books helps to ensure that those regulations are continuing to help promote safety, health, welfare, and well-without imposing unnecessary costs. Agencies filed their most recent retrospective review plans with OIRA in July.

Executive Branch Review of Federal Regulations — Still Highly Incomplete


by Wayne Crews

In the 2014 fiscal budget proposal, the White House praised regulation of auto safety, energy efficiency and credit cards, and claimed, “In fact, the net benefits of regulations issued through the third fiscal year of the first term have exceeded $91 billion.”

Well, let’s look at that.

Rules officially reviewed by OMB represent a small proportion of the total since before the turn of the century.

In the regulatory at year-end 2012, according to the Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations, 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions had just completed or were at work on 4,062 rules and regulations at various stages of planning and implementation (pre-rule, proposed, final, completed).

Retrospective Review of Risk-Based Regulations

Retrospective Review of Risk-Based Regulations

The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center 


The National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis

Hart Senate Building, SH-902

Capitol Hill
Washington, DC
September 27, 2013

Too often, ex ante predictions of regulatory outcomes (reductions in health risks, benefits andcosts) are not verified with empirical data ex post. This conference will explore the possible reasons for this lack of ex post evaluation, and examine approaches to improve both the analytical tools for measuring outcomes of risk-reducing regulation, and the incentives to do so.

What’s government doing for you today? House legislators want to know

From: Gimby News Focus

Brooks Hays

Want to know the parameters of every single government program — how much it costs, who’s working on it, which Americans it benefits? According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), getting all that information together will cost roughly $100 million over the next four years.

The CBO was asked to do the math by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which recently reviewed and sent a bill called the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act to the floor for discussion by the rest of the House of Representatives.

Chafee Announces Release of the Regulatory Look Back Report

Editor’s Note: The importance of retrospective regulatory review is being recognized by State governments as well as by OIRA.


Anthony Faccenda, GoLocalProv News Contributor

As part of this Regulatory Reform Initiative, Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced the release of the Period One Regulatory Look Back Report, which was issued by the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR).

“This report is a step forward for regulatory reform and is the first time our state has taken on the tremendous task to look internally for improvements to the regulatory process,” Chafee said. “It is an encouraging start, and we will continue to move toward our goal of a simpler regulatory process and an improved business climate for our state.”