Washington Secrets

$1.8 trillion shock: Obama regs cost 20-times estimate

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

Current federal regulations plus those coming under Obamacare will cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion annually, more than twenty times the $88 billion the administration estimates, according to a new roundup provided to Secrets from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute.

And it could grow, warned the author of the report, Clyde Wayne Crews, a CEI vice president.

Complying with Health and Human Services Department requirements alone, he revealed, costs $184 billion a year, yet regulators are still drafting the rules for the 2,400-page Obamacare law that kicks into gear in 2014.

Crews has made a working project of his "Tip of the Costberg" report which he regularly updates. In it, he compares the cost of regulations estimated by federal agencies to a much broader list of estimates from multiple federal and independent sources. And even then, he said, it doesn't include hard-to-calculate costs associated with antitrust intervention, regulation of electricity networks, or the cost of constrained access to natural resources.

"While OMB officially reports amounts of only up to $88.6 billion in 2010 dollars," said Crews, "the non-tax cost of government intervention in the economy, without performing a sweeping survey, appears to total up to $1.806 trillion annually."

But, he added, "according to back of the envelope surveys and roundups, with gaps big enough to fit the beltway through, that up to $1.806 trillion annually and in many categories perhaps even considerably more, is a defensible assessment of the annual impact on the economy."

His estimate is close to the $1.7 trillion estimate from the Small Business Administration which the White House distanced itself from. For comparison, the total U.S. GDP is $15 trillion.

The wave of Obama regulations has become a huge sore point in the business world with groups as large as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce down to the International Franchise Association crying for fewer rules. The administration, however, argues that the rules and regulations pushed out under the president have made products and workplaces safer.

Below are some of the estimates from Crews' report:

- A Baseline for Aggregate Annual Economic Regulation Costs: $373 Billion.

- A Baseline for Aggregate Annual Social Regulation Costs: $406 Billion.

- Additional Executive Agency Major Rule Costs Presented by OMB (But Not Tallied): $22.3 Billion.

- Independent Agencies' Annual Regulatory Costs: $4.58 Billion.

- Other Independent Agency Paperwork Costs: $21.56 Billion.

- Dep't of Agriculture: $9.05b

- Dep't of Commerce: $1.801b

- Dep't of Education: $3.032b

- Dep't of Energy: $9.089b

- Dep't of Health & Human Services: $184.805b

- Dep't of Homeland Security: $55.331b

- Dep't of Housing & Urban Development: $1.827b

- Dep't of the Interior: $5.321b

- Dep't of Justice: $1.253b

- Dep't of Labor: $121.987b

- Dep't of Transportation: $64.226b

- Dep't of the Treasury: $$1.32b

- Environmental Protection Agency: $352.997b

- U.S. Access Board (ATBCB): $851mil.

- Federal Acquisition Regulation: $1.356b

- Independent Agency and Certain Sectoral Regulatory Costs Antitrust: $2.34b

- Federal Communications Commission: $141.58b

- Financial Services: $102.46b

- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (paperwork): $336mil.

- Federal Trade Commission (paperwork): $2.85b

- Consumer Product Safety Commission: $193mil.

- EEOC: $122mil.

- Nuclear Regulatory Commission, plus paperwork: $414mil.

- E-gov (paperwork): $380mil.

- NASA (paperwork): $107mil.

- Nat'l Science Foundation (paperwork): $231mil.

- Small Business Admin (paperwork): $43mil.

- Social Security Admin (paperwork): $1.06b.

- Privacy Regulation: $1b.

- Immigration Restrictions: $12b

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