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.