Federal Red Tape Continued to Grow in 2020
The federal government never stops issuing new regulations, adding thousands of such rules every year. How many new rules were imposed in 2020? The Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that there was a “modest amount” of de-regulation. But overall, the red tape continued to grow:
Federal agencies issued 3,353 final regulations in 2020. This is up from 2,964 regulations in 2019, or an 11 percent increase.
This was the second-highest total of Trump’s presidency, just behind 2018’s total of 3,368.
Since 1993, federal agencies have issued 111,065 final regulations.
Since 1975, federal agencies have issued 208,155 final regulations.
Although the Trump administration claims to have eliminated more than 600 regulations during 2020 as part of an effort to get rid of #NeverNeeded regulations harming the COVID-19 response, few of these went through the proper rulemaking process. This means they were not recorded in the Federal Register. My colleague Alex Reinauer tallied fewer than 60 rules properly removed as of October.
That said, removed rules still count as new rules in the Federal Register’s accounting rules. So this year’s rule and page counts capture a modest amount of deregulation, as well as new regulation.
Some of the new regulations the Trump administration approved aren’t captured in these totals. They include:
…doubling of tariffs, its immigration restrictions, its threats to regulate political speech, and its antitrust investigations and lawsuits against tech companies, each of which could have billions of dollars of economic impact.
All of which means that irrespective of the party occupying the White House, the federal leviathan continues to grow. Maybe a little faster, or a little slower – but bigger all the same.