One of Barack Obama's job creation programs appears to be working – the number of federal government regulators along with their budgets has exploded since 2008.
Total employment at the conglomeration of federal agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with the myriad of laws now exceeds 281,000 people. That's an increase of 13 percent during a time when 27 million Americans find themselves unemployed, under-employed, or have completely given up even trying to find work. The budgets at these same agencies have increased 16 percent during the same period to over $54 billion.
With the expanded staffs, the agencies have ramped up new regulations at a frightening pace, too. The Federal Register, already about 80,000 pages, where all the regulation is posted increased 18 percent in 2010 alone, and 4,200 new rules or revisions are in the pipeline. According to the IBD published report, that doesn't count impending clean air rules from the EPA, new derivative rules, the FCC's net neutrality rules, or the recently announced CAFE fuel mandates, or the eventual plethora new regulation mandated by ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank legislation.
Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, however is in denial. He recently said, "There has been no increase in rule making in this administration," and pointed out that Obama had ordered the agencies to look for needless red tape. That apparently is yet another instance where what the Administration does and what it says are very different things.
Equally bizarre, the Administration apparently thinks the explosion of government spending and new regulation is an "economic stimulus" of its own kind. The EPA, where many of these new rules are coming from, actually wrote in February that "in periods of high unemployment, an increase in labor demand due to regulation may have a stimulative effect that results in a net increase in overall employment." That's Keynesian economics gone totally mad.
According to the Heritage Foundation the Obama Administration imposed 75 major new rules in just the first 26 months that will cost the private sector an additional $40 billion.
Before this onslaught of new regulation, a study by the Small Business Administration found that by 2008 federal regulation already cost American business $1.75 trillion per year, with a very disproportionate share of that cost falling on small business.