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Ten Thousand Commandments, 2002 edition

About the Book

In the fiscal year 2003 federal budget, President Bush proposed $2.01 trillion in discretionary, entitlement, and interest spending. Although those costs fully encompass the on‐​budget scope of the federal government, there is considerably more to the reach of the federal government than the sum of the taxes sent to Washington. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year—on top of official federal outlays.

The exact cost of federal regulations can never be fully known. But governmental and private data exist on scores of regulations and the agencies that issue them, as well as on regulatory costs and benefits — all of which can be compiled in a way that makes the regulatory state more comprehensible to the public. That is the purpose of the annual Ten Thousand Commandments report.

About the Author

Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr. is the director of technology studies at the Cato Institute.

Highlights of the 2002 Edition of Ten Thousand Commandments
  • The 2001 Federal Register contained 64,431 pages, a 13.2 percent decline from 2000.
  • In 2001, 4,132 final rules were issued by agencies.
  • Whereas regulatory agencies that are unaccountable to the public issued 4,132 rules, Congress passed and the president signed into law just 108 bills in 2001.
  • In 2001, 4,509 regulations were at various stages of implementation throughout the 50‐​plus federal departments, agencies, and commissions, a decrease of 4 percent from the previous year.
  • Of the 4,509 regulations now in the works, 149 are “economically significant” rules that will have at least $100 million in economic impact. Those rules will impose at least $14.9 billion yearly in future off‐​budget costs.
  • Economically significant rules in the works decreased 5.7 percent between 2000 and 2001, from 158 to 149.
  • The five most active rule‐​producing agencies (the Departments of Transportation, Treasury, Interior, and Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency) account for 48 percent of all rules under consideration.
  • Of the 4,509 regulations now in the works, 996 impact small business. Rules affecting small business are down 5.5 percent over the past year and up 36 percent over the past five years.