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Here Comes the Regulatory Flood

The government defines "economically significant" rules as those that impose annual costs of $100 million or more, and the Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations each ended up finalizing about 45 major rules per year. The average over Mr. Obama's first two years was 63 but then plunged to 44 for 2011 and 2012 so far. The bureaucracies didn't slow down. They merely postponed and built up a backlog that is about to hit the Federal Register.

We'd report the costs of the major-rule pipeline if we had current data. But the White House budget office document known as the unified agenda that reveals the regulations under development hasn't been published since fall 2011. The delay violates multiple federal laws and executive orders that require an agenda every six months, so we thought readers might like a rough guide to the regulatory flood that is about to roll through the economy.

In my own words:

This flood is going to drown an awful lot of jobs. HHS has been hiding coming ObamaCare regulations, leaving insurance companies and the states scrambling at the last minute as they're just finding out what they're up against.

Dodd-Frank requires almost 400 and possibly as many as 500 new rules. Only 133 have been formulated so far and the government has again broken the law by failing to meet mandated deadlines for another 144 rules.

Watch for coal to go away and for new non-green power plants of any kind to find it impossible to start up under new EPA regulations. Fracking will be targetted. New regulations will be used to bury energy producers so deep in compliance costs and to threaten them with lawsuits if they don't comply, such that half of our power generation is in jeopardy.

The NLRB, the EEOC, OSHA and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will be changing workplace and employment law beyond recognition. Through the FCC and the FTC the government will insert itself into the tech sector. The Ag Dept will skyrocket the cost of food and the Consumer Product Safety Commission will be making tool ownership much more onerous.

Forget Greece -- we're starting to edge toward North Korea.

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