Obama administration breaks its own record for adding regulations

It’s as if a bunch of senior people in the Obama administration read my post yesterday about executive power getting out of hand and said, “He thinks we’ve been overdoing it before? We’ll show him overdoing it!” From Wayne Crews, writing on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s blog:

“President Barack Obama’s Federal Register, the daily depository of rules and regulations, added 572 pages today, and stands at 81,640 pages for 2016. 

“This is the all-time record. Ever.

“Obama also held the prior record, 81,405 pages in 2010.

“The 80,000 page mark has been passed in only three previous years (2010, 2011, 2015). … Note that Obama holds seven of the 10 highest-ever tallies.”

The only year of Obama’s presidency that didn’t crack the top 10 was 2009. I guess it took him a while to get going. But as Crews points out, he has a chance to go out with a bang:

“No one knows what the future holds, but at a pace of well over 1,000 pages weekly, the Federal Register could easily top 90,000 pages this year.

“The simple algebra says that at the current pace we’ll add 11,190 pages over the next 44 days, to end 2016 at around 92,830 pages. 

“This is astonishing and should be of great concern, and intolerable, to policymakers.

“It is remarkable enough that the all-time record has been passed before Thanksgiving.”

The data on Crews’ post underscores what I said yesterday about this being a long-term trend. Obama’s record output this year already surpasses, and could wind up dwarfing, that of the highest previous year: 2008 as George W. Bush left office (79,435 pages). That beat the highest output by Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, which came in 2000 (74,258 pages). Clinton far outstripped the records of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, neither of whose administration ever hit even 58,000 pages, but barely beat the peak hit by Jimmy Carter (73,258 in 1980).

President Barack Obama signs yet another executive order -- this one regarding the minimum wage for federal contractors -- on Feb. 12, 2014. (Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

President Barack Obama signs yet another executive order — this one regarding the minimum wage for federal contractors — on Feb. 12, 2014. (Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

Note that Obama, Bush-43, Clinton and Carter all peaked in their final years in office — presumably trying to pile on a bunch of new rules right before heading out the door and a president from the other party took over. Those are especially appalling examples of the abuse of executive power in recent decades.

They’re also related to the relatively slow economic growth we’ve experienced over the past decade and a half. Fourteen of the 15 top years for new regulations have come since 2000. More than 1 million pages of federal regulations have been added in the first part of this century alone. That absolutely adds an anchor to entrepreneurs and companies trying to start new businesses or just stay in business.

One campaign promise Donald Trump made was to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation added. If he accomplishes nothing else, that would be a welcome change for the economy.

Reader Comments 0

59 comments
stogiefogey
stogiefogey

The (current) president's not-so-veiled remarks during his final world tour in which he's critiquing and trying to undermine his successor are unprecedented and wildly inappropriate.

Also encouraging his supporters to continue street protests, some of which have turned violent.

History will remember him for this, and not in a good way.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder


 Reagan has since left office, dearie.


I can tell you this, Andy - Osama bin Laden went poof on Obama's watch, and he aint coming back. Perhaps in 'poofing' Iran your Saint Reagan should have consulted with Barack.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@Eye wonder If you are hot for total war with iran, President Trump is not your guy. We usually do not disclose our intentions to our enemies but I am going to make an exception on your part, since you seem so bewildered and I'm just here to help.


Think about increased US oil production for a few minutes. Maybe it will dawn on you, maybe it won't.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@Eye wonder Here are some additionally helpful numbers, the United States currently imports 9 million barrels of oil PER DAY. That number is fixing to go poof.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@IReportYouWhine

LOL.  Just like, in your words, the time that "Ronald "God Bless His Soul" Reagan took office and iran went poof."

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

To those of us and yes, I admit to being one, who were concerned about Trumps, true conservative epiphany his appointments are laying that concern to rest.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Maybe if the GOP had done their job the last 8 years this wouldn't have been necessary?  Revolutionary idea, I know!!!


Besides, you have a new fuhrer ascending soon. Fear not - America's new fascist dictatorship will take care of things.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Pompeo. nominated for CIA Director. Facts for Bookman, elections have consequences and just because Clinton, won a plurality of the vote, Trump, as president can implement his own agenda.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Eye wonder @SGTGrit 

Have you been paying attention to who he's been appointing and nominating for his administration?

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@Eye wonder @SGTGrit I can remember a time in the past when iran thought that America was a paper tiger that could be ignored, like they do now. And then Ronald "God Bless His Soul" Reagan took office and iran went poof.


Guess what's fixing to happen again?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@SGTGrit

That agenda may not be what you think it's going to be, gritty one. For example, the Iran nuclear deal. Your new fuhrer is going to huff and puff and keep it in place!

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@IReportYouWhine @Eye wonder @SGTGrit He left office 30 years ago, and he had an awful record in Iran.  Carter released $12B in frozen assets for the hostages.  He also had the aforementioned Iran-Contra affair.  


W. Bush did nothing to deal with Iran.  Why was that?  Business deals.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58298-2005Feb2.html


Obama is the only person who has successfully done anything to stop nuclear Iran.  If they kill the deal, Russia and Europe won't put sanctions back on.  Iran gets all the money and none of the restrictions. If we attack them, we have another 10 year quagmire or a potential nuclear attack on Israel.  


The nuclear deal is here to stay. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

God's Ten Commandments require one page.

Obama's take 1,000 a week?

Must be his god complex that compels him, unintended consequences be damned. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@FIGMO2 If you think the President has issued those pages, your knowledge of the working of our government needs a lot of education.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

I'd be okay if most regs were eliminated on one condition: If a company violates the law, uses fraud to sell their products, or kills people do to poor health controls, then the CEO and the Board members and anyone else associated with the decisions and implementation lose all monies earned by such actions, are jailed in a regular jail, and, if impacts are heinous enough, is put to death. Scamming should be more painful for all that do it, not those who are screwed by it!

lvg
lvg

@RoadScholar Oh my! death to the President elect and his family?Or do they get immunity?

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Let the destruction of Jeff Sessions begin!


Cruz for Supreme Court?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@IReportYouWhine 

Cruz, would be a great nomination but he's a pretty young man who I think still aspires to once again pursue the presidency.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Let the destruction of Michael Flynn begin!



Interesting how Gingrich couldn't meet the non lobbying requirements. No exceptions, apparently.

lvg
lvg

@JFMcNamara @IReportYouWhine Flynn is a Buddy with Putin and Erdrogan- two fascist dictators with grandiose ideas.Trump's kind of leaders.

dimik
dimik

@IReportYouWhine 

Newt is making too much money living off of K-Street ad Wall Street pushing regulation to profit him and his connections

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@IReportYouWhine well, Flynn was so bad that his direct reports got him fired in 2014.  


Either way, it doesnt matter now.  It does, however, look like we are going to war in the middle east soon and we are never leaving.  Yay for another disastrous quagmire!

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@IReportYouWhine @JFMcNamara That's his side of the story.  


My guess is that he got put into NSA because he had no chance of getting confirmed when the real truth came out about his firing.  Like I said, it doesn't matter now. Good luck to him.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Obama and his regulations have been a slow moving disaster for his economy and will be even more of a disaster for a future economic recovery.  Once these regulations make the Fed Register, they are complex to remove or change; it takes forever with comment periods required, and committees to form, and litigation to overcome. 


These regulations are exactly like barnacles on a ship, over time the ship gets ever more difficult to move and requires ever more fuel to power it.  At some point, unless they are removed, the ship becomes unusable. 

lvg
lvg

@TomGaff Fake News - A GOP "reliable source"

MarkVV
MarkVV

”Obama administration breaks its own record for adding regulations.”

DUH

Perhaps President Trump will reduce the number of pages of regulations to the number under President Washington.

Apparently, Kyle has never noticed that the world has been getting more complex every day.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@MarkVV The number is annual, not cumulative. So it's not that there were 58,000 pages under Reagan and now there are 80,000 pages under Obama. It's that Reagan never added more than 58,000 in a single year, and Obama has added more than 80,000 in three different years. Is the world really so complex that the U.S. needed more than 1 million pages of new regulations in 16 years? I rather doubt that.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Kyle_Wingfield @MarkVV Kyle, you are an opinion columnist, so you have every right to have the opinion that those pages of new regulations were not needed. But as evidence or a fact you know what it is worth.

lvg
lvg

I guess if Trump makes good to do away with the NLRB some of those voluminous regulations disappear. Problem is  it will not fly in the Courts due to Trump's conflicts of interest:


"""""""The issue before the National Labor Relations Board is whether the Trump International Hotel must negotiate with Unite Here, a coalition of the Culinary Workers union and Bartenders union. The employees, in a 238 to 209 vote last year, said they want to be represented by the group.


Despite that, Trump's hotel management has refused to recognize the union, charging that employees were intimidated into voting Yes. The labor board heard the hotel's complaints and rejected them in a November 3 ruling.

All three members of the labor board -- two Democrats and one Republican -- ruled the hotel must recognize the union and negotiate with the union. Trump's attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ruling.


The conflict is an example of the kinds of conflicts that could emerge when Trump's business interests cross paths with the federal government.""""



From CNN today.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@lvg 

 Oh yes, courtesy of the Clinton News Network. Impressive.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@lvg So when did you start caring about conflicts of interest, clinton foundation defender?



SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Sorry for the OT but here's a surprise. Trump, is meeting with Mitt Romney on Saturday and it's reported that it could be to discuss SoS.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit


That would be a big win for Trump to have one of his harshest critics be part of his administration. Having said that, its too much of a risk for Romney if Trump mis-behaves which I think is a strong possibility. 


I was also wrong about the election so what the heck. Do Romney and Trump even share common ground in foreign policy?

lvg
lvg

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit Foreign Policy experience?

Romney was a gaffe a minute on his foreign policy trip along with Dan Senor- Bush's "Baghdad Bob"

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Maybe he can issue an executive order to make it rain.

jhgm63
jhgm63

Considering the number of lobbyists floating around K Street, it wouldn't surprise me to find out a large number of those regulations were written with the blessing of big business, to curtail competition and to protect their interests.

ByteMe
ByteMe

The limp-wristed tyranny of people who are afraid of big numbers.