Ten Thousand Commandments, 2004 edition

About the Book

While Washington rule makers made 19 fewer regulations in 2003 than they did in 2002, they lost no time issuing an astonishing 4,148 new rules in the 71,269-page Federal Register. The cost of these rules can never be fully known and appear nowhere in the federal budget, according to Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in a new Cato Institute report.

For the past eight years, Crews has analyzed countless pages of federal regulations in an attempt to make them more comprehensible in his report, Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State. He examines the process behind creating these rules, why it’s nearly impossible for the government to accurately assess what they cost, and he provides a way by which Congress can rein in the agencies behind the nonstop rule making.

About the Author

Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute.

Highlights of the 2004 Edition of Ten Thousand Commandments
  • The 2003 Federal Register contains 71,269 pages.
    In 2002, the Register contained a record 75,606 pages.
  • Regulatory agencies issued 4,148 final rules in 2003.
  • In the 2003 Unified Agenda, agencies reported on 4,266 regulations that were at various stages of implementation throughout the 50‐​plus federal departments, agencies, and commissions, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year.
  • Of the 4,266 regulations now in the regulatory pipeline, 127 are “economically significant” rules that will have at least $100 million in economic impact. Those rules will impose at least $12.7 billion yearly in future off‐​budget costs.
  • Of the 4,266 regulations now in the works, 859 affect small business.
  • The five most active rule‐​producing agencies, which accounted for 46 percent of the rules under consideration, were the Departments of Treasury, Transportation, Homeland Security, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Regulatory costs are more than twice the $375 billion budget deficit.
  • Regulatory costs of $869 billion are equivalent to 7.9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, estimated at $10,980 billion for 2003.
  • Federal regulatory costs of $869 billion combined with outlays of $2,158 billion bring the federal government’s share of the economy to some 27 percent.
  • Regulatory costs also exceed all corporate pretax profits, which totaled $665 billion in 2002.