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This Week in Ridiculous Regulations



By Ryan Young, Competitive Enterprise Institute 


President Biden signed the FORMULA Act, which will temporarily suspend baby formula tariffs and other regulatory measures that made the formula shortage worse. Footage emerged of Sen. Josh Hawley showing off his speed in the U.S. Capitol. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from high chairs to hot air balloons.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 44 final regulations last week, after 72 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 49 minutes.
  • With 1,748 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,121 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,257 new final regulations in 2021, President Biden’s first year, and 3,218 in 2020, President Trump’s final year.
  • Agencies issued 41 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 1,188 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,121 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 445 notices last week, after 342 notices the previous week.
  • With 12,528 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,371 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,458.
  • Last week, 1,350 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,605 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 318 pages.
  • With 43,984 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 78,543 pages.
  • For comparison, the 2021 Federal Register totals 74,352 pages and 2020’s is 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are 19 such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week.
  • This is on pace for 34 economically significant regulations in 2022.
  • For comparison, there were 26 economically significant rules in 2021, and five in 2020.
  • The total cost of 2022’s economically significant regulations so far is for net savings of $11.56 billion to $20.51 billion, according to numbers provided by the agencies themselves. However, this figure is incomplete. Three economically significant rules issued this year do not give the required cost estimates.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules is for net costs of $13.54 billion to $19.36 billion. The 2020 range is for net savings of $2.04 billion to $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • There are 141 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 250 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 493 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 885. Thirty-eight of them are significant, on pace for 68.
  • For comparison, there were 912 rules in 2021 affecting small businesses, with 101 of them classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.


Ryan Young is a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).