The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a small “think tank” in Washington DC which puts out an annual report called: “Ten Thousand Commandments”. The report deals with the regulatory agencies of the US federal government and the cost of the regulations they continually introduce – and enforce. This report would be typical of the regulatory function of pretty well every government in the world.
In all interventionist economies, regulations are not set by the “lawmakers”. The “lawmakers” merely pass the laws, their enforcement is left to the various bureaucratic departments of government. And in order to “enforce” the laws, the bureaucrats see it as their function to impose regulations – countless thousands of them. The cost of complying with these regulations is met by those being regulated. It does NOT show up in the annual budgets (funded or unfunded) of the government.
In their Ten Thousand Commandments 2012 report which was released in June, the CEI estimates the cost of US government regulation at $US 1.75 TRILLION. That is just under half (48 percent) of the budget of the federal government. It is almost ten times the total of all corporate taxes collected and almost double the total collected from individual income taxes. It is also one-third higher than the total of all pre-tax corporate profits. It is the hidden cost of doing business in an interventionist economy. The fact that the cost of complying with these regulations is substantially higher than the total of corporate profits is a stark illustration of the end result of economic intervention. That end result is capital consumption.
In the US, the federal government lists its regulations in what is called the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules of the economic “game” cover 169,000 pages and more than ten new ones are added every day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. In 2011, the US Congress passed a total of 81 new “laws” while government agencies issued 3,807 new regulations. As the CEI points out, if there ever was an example of government without the consent of ANYONE – this is it.