Federal Regulations Cut Standard of Living by 75 Percent Over 56 Years

The 20th annual snapshot of the federal regulatory state published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) last month announced the arrival of an unhappy milestone: Regulatory costs now equal more than half of all federal spending. Put another way, the real cost of government in the United States is half-again as much as the federal budget. It is approaching a third of the country’s economic output. Said CEI in its Ten Thousand Commandments 2013 report: “Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions — perhaps trillions — of dollars every year over and above the costs of the official federal outlays that dominate the [current] policy debate.”

Just how many billions and trillions the regulatory state costs, and has cost, the American economy has been put into perspective by two economists in their paper, “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth,” published in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Growth. Rather than count the cost in dollars, the authors, John W. Dawson and John J. Seater, take a unique approach and attempt to measure how much lower Americans’ standard of living is today compared to what it would be if regulations had stayed at the level they were in 1949, the starting point of their study. Their conclusion? The average American household’s income would be $27,500 a month instead of the $4,400 a month that it is currently.

In their study they count the pages of federal regulations from 1949 through 2005 and discover that they have grown by 600 percent, slowing the economy by an estimated two percent every year. In simple terms, today’s economy, which produces about $17 trillion in goods and services every year, would instead be producing almost $55 trillion. And the authors apologize that their study doesn't reflect state and local regulations during that period as the effort that would have been required to collect and analyze them as well would have greatly exceeded their time and resources.

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These Beurau's can be brought under control by simply placeing them under House approval. If I had my way they wouldn't be able to pass gas without congressional approval.

These stats are shocking!  The growth in federal regs is epic.  Begs the questions: who are the nameless, unelected autocrats that write these regulations? It's painfully obvious that none of our senators or representatives even READ the bills and regs that are rammed through congress. So who are these invisible robots that get their jollies off churning out all this mind-numbing crap? 

Jim said: "These Beurau's can be brought under control by simply placeing them under House approval. If I had my way they wouldn't be able to pass gas without congressional approval."

And Michael followed with: "who are the nameless, unelected autocrats that write these regulations? It's painfully obvious that none of our senators or representatives even READ the bills and regs that are rammed through congress. So who are these invisible robots that get their jollies off churning out all this mind-numbing crap?"

We all need to take a long look in the mirror. YOU may not like THIS regulation; I many not like THAT one, THE GUY UNDER THAT TREE may not like MOST of them, but most new laws pass because lawmakers believe that the people will be happy to have them passed. A bill that is generally unpopular, generally does not pass.

But Congress can't possibly write all the details when it passes a law so nearly all of them are just grants of power to a cabinet department to write regulations. Who are the people who will help the departments write the regulations?

BUSINESSES AND INTEREST GROUPS THAT WANT SPECIAL FAVORS AND HAVE MONEY, that's who. Guess who wrote the latest round of banking/financial regulations? Who had the most influence on Obamacare? Who pushes hard for more gun laws and writes the regs when they do pass?

But it all comes back to us: If we WANTED government to leave us alone -- if we voted AGAINST people who pushed for new laws -- we'd have fewer laws.

AMERICANS are responsible for excessive government regulation because **We Hate Liberty**. The federal government and many state governments regulate the breeding and sale of pet dogs because WE AMERICANS do not believe that dog breeders can be trusted to do it properly even when subject to the same animal welfare laws as everyone else. If we regulated farm animal husbandry as we do pets, meat would cost -- what? -- double? Egg production is probably going to be regulated; estimates of the increase of costs are 20-100% and there are all kinds of problems in Europe where these regulations are further along than they are here.

Look at the regulation of firearms: You pay an extra $25-50 per firearm purchase for the background check and dealer paperwork, every time; that doesn't count the cost for the government employees who are on the other end of those checks. How many lives are saved? Could more lives be saved by spending that same amount of money in some other way?

Good luck getting those questions asked and if there is a better use of the money, good luck making that change.

Each of us, almost without exception, has in his head a list of things other people shouldn't do. Many of these are things we personally know zilch about but we believe 'what people say' and are willing to pay other people who are just as ignorant to make laws to stop the stuff other people shouldn't do. And guess what? THOSE people have their own lists that include stuff on which WE are experts but next year we'll probably find that there's a law telling us how the ignorant think we should do what we're expert at.

Believing in liberty comes down to this: "I HATE it when people do XXXXX, but it should be their right to do it." Only when absolutely all of us HATE IT should it be against the law: Driving while drunk, murder, violence against another person ...

How many people are able to say "Liberty is so important that some people should be allowed to XXXXX even though I think that's an evil thing"? And "If I don't know squat about it and Joe has been doing it successfully for 15 years, then JOE PROBABLY KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING AND THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD KEEP TO HELL OUT OF IT."

As a reasonably expert (hobby) dog breeder who has watched government regulate that over the last 10+ years -- think of it as the ignorant and corrupt led and driven by those who hate breeders -- I just about never support more regulation of anything else.

Jim -- Regulations written by a cabinet department to fill in the blanks in a law ARE under Congressional approval. All they have to do is say "we want to study XXXXXX regulation." The trouble is the departments lie about how important the regs are (costly ones are easier to review), and Congressional review is so much work for Congress that they never do it.

I really don't know the solution except that it has to start with us NOT WANTING more regulations. I've been thinking lately that a very good first step would be going back to the U.S. Code (laws) and Federal Regulations (the regulations filling in the blanks) of about 1950 or 1960, then looking at what REALLY, REALLY needs to be added.

There's probably some ...

Good post Walt.  Thanks for the effort. I understand what you are saying, and you are right.  

Yes, what he said. You are one hundred percent right Walt. I am an ex-smoker and smoke truly bothers me. But I amaze (even anger) my fellow ex-smoker and non-smoker cohort when I state "I am opposed to any federal or state regulation of smoking in private or open spaces". I believe that abortion after two months is murder. But, I am opposed to federal restriction or support for it. I believe in helping my fellow man. But, I resent the government taking my money to distribute to others. The list of these things goes on for ever.


I agree Walt... we need to go back to about 1950 and suspend all laws made after that year... then look long and hard at any new law.  The voting rights act for instance didn't nee to be written as the Constitution already guaranteed the right to vote... the administration of elections should be left to the States and if there were any questions about being denied due process or access to the ballots... then the SCOTUS could review the State laws regarding elections in light of the Constitution.  The same applies to the Civil Rights Act of 64... the Constitution already guaranteed equal protection under the law and if any State failed to grant equal protection then it was a matter of the SCOTUS to intervene.

We probably don't need over 70% of the laws and regulations on the books today... if we simply applied the Constitution to these laws they would become redundant.  Additionally, the States and local governments are where most of the extraneous regulatory acts need to be applied IF AT ALL.  Keeping all things as local as possible gives the people greater control over bad laws and regulations.

Finally, the courts have gotten out of control... at one time our legal system was fundamentally overseen by a JURY SYSTEM that permitted the common man the right to judge both the facts/evidence and the LAW.  JURY NULIFICATION could over turn a bad law or regulation very quickly and efficiently.  If the Jury believed a law or regulation to be unconstitutional or written in such a manner as to be unenforceable they could simply find the citizen charged with its violation not guilty.  This used to happen in the days of my youth... and I can recall news paper headlines like Jury Nullifies Local Gun Ban ... finds offender not guilty.

Michael, Thomas, Col. Nelson, thanks for the encouragement.

Col. Nelson said: "We probably don't need over 70% of the laws and regulations on the books today ..."

I wonder if the true fraction of unneeded laws/regulations isn't even higher -- 80%? 90%? The amount of stuff out there is simply astonishing. There is a book with the title "Three felonies a day" estimating that all of us commit that many crimes.

I believe that this subject is among the most important ones we can think and talk about. We are frightened, we are deeply offended by what our government is doing but only the details (Obama, for example) should really surprise us. Most of the general evil is the unavoidable result of having let government try to do too much good.

No government as big as ours can be even mostly efficient, honest, and non-intrusive. We may one day THANK the worst president in American history for having forced us to look in the mirror a decade or more before the day to day progress of WHAT WE WANT FROM GOVERNMENT caused our collapse.

Consider total anarchy: No government or laws at all. Some people would behave well just because that's what they believe they should do, but many would not. Businesses couldn't prosper without the rule of law, nobody would feel safe ... I don't think many of us want anarchy.

Yet where we are today is also terrible, with lives being ruined, the general standard of living being lowered (and likely to fall dramatically within a few years), and steadily less liberty.

It seems that if we start with anarchy and add laws, there is for a time an increase of prosperity and useful liberty. Then there's probably a pretty flat area where more laws produce gains in some places that are roughly offset by losses in others, then finally, with still more laws, the curve bends down again, to 'today.'

Where we SHOULD be is up on the flat spot between 'anarchy' and 'today.' Two obvious questions:

1. How do we know what the right place is? What is the amount of law and regulation that will give us the best combination of prosperity and liberty?

2. How do we change our form of government so that it is likely to get us to and then maintain us in that place?

Of course human society cannot be so finely tuned as a machine, but we ought to be able to do better than we have so far.

One thing seems clear: Our current system provides incentives to lawmakers to give us steadily MORE laws and regulations without end. They CANNOT say "We have enough laws" because there's always going to be someone out there who would profit from another new law and Congress benefits from giving it him even if that law hurts everyone else in the country.

'Legalization' for illegal aliens is only the largest of current examples of a law that's wanted by a few but destructive (even perhaps catastrophic) for the country.

How to change the rules for lawmakers so they'll try to make things work well rather than just pass more laws every year?

We will likely have the chance to change how our government works within a few years so such thinking might have a payoff.

Walt -

Your first two paragraphs could probably be summed up by saying that our government has much too much UN influence and European and Chinese and Islamic influence.  None of those have any right to influence our government in ANY way.

On the rest of what you said - - If we were to go back to the original Constitution and Bill of Rights and say "Ok, that's it - - all the rest (of the laws) are for the individual states to decide for themselves - (as the Constitution says) and the Fed is simply there to protect the states from foreign entities and establish basic infrastructure such as National Highways."   Then the laws would be made by those closer to home and 'the people' would have a more direct input because we could be more "hands on".  If you didn't like the laws in one state - move to another - - and I'll stay in Arizona!

There - - now that's simpler.   Right??


The Czars.


How much has our "quality of life" gone down since Barry took office ???"  My "quality of life" has gone from, the nineties percentile to the low thirties percentile since "the chosen one" has taken office.

"My "quality of life" has gone from, the nineties percentile to the low thirties percentile since "the chosen one" has taken office."

Vana, can you say any more about why your quality of life has dropped so much? Without saying anything you want to keep private, I mean.

once more its people, cities, counties and sheriffs. the people controlling what they can control. In 1833 Chief justoce john marshall said that the people in their states are ones in control of the bill of rights.  Sttes now have forgotten the peoples state citizenship. And Justice marshal said in his writ tht the Bill of rights belonged to the people in those states. the 14ht 15th amendments took those rights and turned them into privleges in 1868 given to the Black slaves then the white in 1935 with the advent ofthe Social Security act. for in that act when you re signed up for social  Security you lose State citizenship because now you are a federal citizen with privleges not rights.

Resecure your rights in your states even getting lobbyists to present legislation to do so.




Political Cartoons by AF Branco

Political Cartoons by Tom StiglichPolitical Cartoons by AF Branco


Fact Check:   'Joe Biden Claims ‘We Didn’t Lock People Up In Cages’

CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed, on immigration: “We didn’t lock people up in cages.”

VERDICT: FALSE. The “cages” were built by the Obama-Biden administration.

Univision moderator Jorge Ramos asked Biden at the third Democrat debate at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, why Latinos should trust him after the Obama administration continued deporting “undocumented immigrants.”

Biden claimed that the Obama administration’s policies were more humane than those of President Donald Trump: “We didn’t lock people up in cages,” he said.

In fact, the “cages” were built by the Obama administration to deal with a surge of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border illegally in 2014.

Originally, the Obama administration was “warehousing” children — literally — in overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities. Breitbart News broke the story of the surge, which was partly triggered by Obama’s policy of allowing illegal alien children who entered the country as minors to stay in the country (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA).

Above image credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File

The above photo was published by the Associated Press in June 2014, and the photo below is of Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, touring a Border Patrol facility with “cages.”

Above: Border Patrol officers escort Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Gov. Jan Brewer through the department’s Nogales processing facility for immigrant children. (Photo courtesy Barry Bahler/Department of Homeland Security)

The “cages” are chain-link enclosures in Border Patrol processing facilities that are meant to protect children from adults in custody. They are not permanent accommodations.

In mid-2018, as the Trump administration began enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy that stopped the “catch-and-release” policy of letting illegal aliens go after they were arrested. Detaining adults and children meant that children had to be processed separately; the enclosures prevented adults from harming children.

As Breitbart News reported at the time, children were not housed in “cages.” They were processed and then taken to shelters, where they were given medical care, toiletries, education, recreation, and counseling, and where staff attempted to find relatives or sponsors to whom they could be released.

Democrats began tweeting images of “kids in cages” to condemn the Trump administration. Journalists, too, shared those images.

One problem: they were taken during the Obama administration.

Public outrage at the images led President Trump to end the policy, and require families to be detained together.

Democrats keep repeating the mistake, however: in July, they had to delete a tweet that used an image from the Obama era and cited the “inhumane treatment” of children by the Trump administration.

Republicans argue that not detaining illegal aliens is actually the cruel policy, because it encourages migrants to undertake a dangerous journey, often guided by cartels and smugglers.

As Breitbart News’ Alana Mastrangelo noted recently:

But what’s worse than “cages,” however, are reports of migrant children also being handed over to human traffickers during the Obama administration — while Biden was vice president — according to the New York Times. Between October 2013 and July 2015 alone, nearly 80,000 unaccompanied children from Central American countries were detained by U.S. authorities.

It remains unclear how many of the tens of thousands of children were handed over to human traffickers — including sex traffickers — during that span of nearly two years, as those cases are reportedly not tracked.

“Others were ransomed by the very smugglers to whom their families paid thousands of dollars to sneak them into the United States,” reported the New York Times in 2015, during Obama’s presidency and Biden’s vice presidency. “Some lost limbs during the journey or found themselves sold into sexual slavery.”

Biden told voters in South Carolina last month that he would close all border detention facilities, guaranteeing that the migrant flow would continue.

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