Friday, April 16, 2010

Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Releases it's 2010 study on the regulatory state

April 15, 2010, Tax Day across America, we decided to declare our own holiday and take the day off. Now that we are back this morning, we found this gem waiting in pur email. When most people think of Government revenue, they think of TAXES, and Federal Government borrowing money, but do most of us think about how much we pay in taxes due to hidden regulations? Except for Federal gas taxes we never gave it much of a thought until this morning.

Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Releases it's 2010 study on the regulatory state

CEI's Wayne Crews unveiled his study on the growth of the regulatory state on tax day, April 15th. Crews covers not just the $1.349 trillion projected deficit in 2010, but the hidden taxes that occur because of the inundation of new regulations each year. Read about the study here. CEI's Crews and Ryan Young covered some of their findings in an op-ed in AOL Times.
After looking at the email, we decided to investigate further. Frankly we were not prepared for the amount of money that rules/regulations bring into the Federal Government. The fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn't have a handle on the amount with their analysis is unsettling:

The Office of Management and Budget recently picked 99 major regulations and estimated their benefits to be between $126 billion and $663 billion.
Now if our math is correct, that is a difference of $537B which makes one question the other figures released by the CBO like on healthcare if they cannot come close on something we would think would be a simple calculation.

From the exploding growth of Government employees, it looks like when the Government bureaucracy has a new rule/regulation, it is mandatory in the agency's thought process they have to hire more people to enforce the rule/regulation. You cannot expect an agency to have a new rule/regulation and not hire new people. Wish we could say that was pure sarcasm but unfortunately it is what is happening at the Federal level today. When the Government spends $54B for Administration of their regulations that is going to translate into more Civil Service positions.

individuals paid $1.187 trillion last year to comply with federal rules. Factor in the $54.3 billion that the federal government spends on administration and enforcement, and the full cost of the regulatory state comes to $1.24 trillion.
Individuals (you and me) paid $1.187 TRILLION last year to comply with federal rules? That is beyond mind boggling. Everyone needs to take a look at this study and see the tactics of the Federal Government to raise money.

We have wholeheartedly supported Senators McCain and Coburn and their actions to do away with pork and earmarks. Now we understand why we keep hearing from these two and others there are way too many rules and regulations costing us way too much money. Congressmen Mike Pence and Steve King have been some of more outspoken members of the House on the runaway spending and taxing by the Federal Government along with the Government intrusion in our every day lives. These members of Congress are correct and should be listened to by this Administration but we are not holding our breath.

We are reminded of the DoD Study years ago on 'Paperwork Management' to reduce the amount of paperwork in the DoD and what not to save. The book was 3" thick and one given to everyone in the office. In our small office we stacked them up and it was taller than our 4-drawer safe. The cost of writing and printing alone was enormous. Not one person in our office bothered to read the document except what we had to sign and send back. We doubt if we were alone. What does that tell you? The Government has had too many employees for years that don't have enough to do so they assign them make work like the 3" Paperwork Reduction.

Time to clean house in the Federal Government and do away with a lot of unnecessary positions that are make work. Our first recommendation for cuts is the amount of staff for Congressional Committees. With less staff, there would be less people to write new regulations. At the same time, we need to have Congress pass a bill forbidding lobbyist from helping write or writing bills. Time to get lobbyist out of the halls of Congress.

This little gem jumped out at us to show how little transparency there is with the Government.

Precise regulatory costs can never be fully known, because, unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted and often indirect.
Without organizations like CEI, we wouldn't have a clue about these regulations and how much they cost us every year. It is time FISCAL Conservatives are elected to Congress who are willing to make the hard decisions and that we elect a President who is a Fiscal Conservative. No more programs that are 'nice to have' -- those days need to be gone. Do a complete overhaul of the Federal Bureaucracy and make it responsive to the taxpayers. It wouldn't be easy as the Federal Unions would yell but let them yell.

Some tough decisions have to be made after the November elections to start to turn this Country back around from the runaway spending that has been happening in this new century. If a candidate is running for office and not a fiscal conservative, then they need defeated. In January 2011, we recommend that Congress start cleaning out its own house starting with Committee staffs and then cut the budgets for every entity of the Federal Government.. Manpower reductions are required throughout the Federal Government to get this Country back on track.

Ten Thousand Commandments
An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State

The federal government primarily funds its programs in three ways. The first is to raise taxes to pay for new programs. The second is to borrow money to pay for them (with a promise to pay back that borrowed money, with interest, from taxes collected in the future). No matter how controversial government spending programs can be, taxpayers can always see how much programs cost by looking at the federal budget, and Congress can be held accountable for programs that are controversial. While not perfect, such accountability is a fundamental, necessary condition for controlling government.

The third way the government can accomplish its goals is to regulate. That is, rather than pay directly and book the expense of a new initiative, it can require that the private sector and lower-level governments pay. By regulating, the government can carry out desired programs but avoid using tax dollars to fund them. This process sometimes allows Congress to escape accountability and to blame agencies for costs. Since disclosure and accountability for regulation are limited, policymakers have little incentive to care about the extent of regulatory costs or where those costs stand in relation to ordinary government spending. Regulatory costs are unbudgeted and lack the formal presentation to the public and media to which ordinary federal spending is subject, and thus regulatory initiatives allow the government to direct private-sector resources to a significant degree without much public fuss. In that sense, regulation can be thought of as off-budget taxation.

The purpose of Ten Thousand Commandments is accountability. Every year Wayne Crews researches and writes Ten Thousand Commandments to hold government officials accountable for the costs they pass on to the American taxpayers.
The goal is Transparency.

10KC 2010

President Barack Obama’s federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011 proposes $3.83 trillion in discretionary, entitlement, and interest spending.1 In the previous fiscal year, the president had proposed $3.552 trillion. For reference, George W. Bush had proposed the first-ever $3 trillion U.S. budget. In fact, President Bush was also the first to propose a $2 trillion federal budget—in 2002, a scant eight years ago.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects FY 2010 spending will end up at $3.524 trillion. The result: thanks to the bailout and “stimulus” frenzy, a projected FY 2010 deficit of a previously unthinkable$1.349 trillion, down slightly from 2009.

Excerpt: Read More at CEI
Last year in the first year of the new liberal Administration, 3,503 new Rules went into effect. This is Hope and Change? We want to see Rules and Regulations decrease not increase.

When you read what some of the rules and regulations cover, you shake your head and realize that as American taxpayers, we have not paid enough attention to what is happening at the Federal level. We need to become better educated not just show up for a rally, return home, and go back to normal. We need to start looking at rules/regulations and ask our Congressman/Senator why a particular one is necessary. One pointed out by CEI has us questioning why?
what colors are allowed for surgical stitches.
As Taxpayers, we are obligated to demand accountability and transparency. We work to elect members to Congress and the President but after they take office, they are employed by the United States Taxpayer. It is time to quit business as usual. How many people who attended a rally yesterday will now write and/or visit their Congressional/Senate offices to make complaints or even pick up the phone to complain. Every member of Congress has a form on their website for their constituents to use to communicate -- start using those forms and let them know you are watching carefully how they vote to spend our money.

This article from AOL is more from CEI about Hidden Taxes we are paying. This 2010 Ten Thousand Commandments should be a wake-up call that we need to start paying attention to what is passed by the Congress.

The Huge, Hidden Tax You Pay for Government
by Clyde Wayne Crews, Ryan Young
April 15, 2010

Originally published in AOL News
Taxpayers rushing to fill out and file their form 1040 today may think their obligation to the federal government is complete. But it's really just beginning.

Although Americans paid more than $900 billion in income taxes last year, there's a far larger tax bill hidden from view. That tax is regulation.

According to the just-released 2010 edition of "Ten Thousand Commandments," an annual study published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, businesses and individuals paid $1.187 trillion last year to comply with federal rules. Factor in the $54.3 billion that the federal government spends on administration and enforcement, and the full cost of the regulatory state comes to $1.24 trillion. By comparison, Canada's entire GDP last year was $1.32 trillion.

The Code of Federal Regulations is now over 157,000 pages long. Last year alone, 3,503 new rules went into effect -- that's a new regulation every 2 1/2 hours, day and night, seven days a week.

Federal rules cover everything from pork rind imports to farm animal weighing procedures to what colors are allowed for surgical stitches.

So what do we get for all this bureaucratic red tape?

While the costs of regulation are relatively easy to calculate, quantifying the benefits of regulation is much trickier. Agencies do a limited amount of cost-benefit analysis, but they have a built-in incentive to downplay costs and overestimate benefits, in order to avoid budget cuts or worse.

And, because benefits are largely subjective, they are nearly impossible to quantify with any precision. The Office of Management and Budget recently picked 99 major regulations and estimated their benefits to be between $126 billion and $663 billion. The OMB might as well say it has no idea.

Excerpt: Read more at AOL

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