The Biden administration has buried taxpayers and businesses under a flurry of new regulations that cost the U.S. economy more than $309 billion and exacerbated inflation, according to a new analysis.
At this point under the previous administration, Mr. Trump’s deregulatory agenda had saved the economy more than $3 million, said the study.
The Biden administration, by contrast, has issued 450 new rules through Nov. 4, requiring nearly 197 million hours in paperwork for businesses, found the study by the American Action Forum, a right-leaning economic think tank.
“Any time you add costs to something, particularly in an inflationary environment, costs are going to continue to increase,” said Dan Bosch, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum. “Some regulations have savings, but the vast majority have costs that can help contribute to inflation.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
At the same point in the Obama administration, federal regulators had issued 647 rules, costing the economy roughly $205 billion and requiring about 87 million hours of paperwork for businesses.
However, the Trump administration after two years had enacted 504 rules that managed to reduce the regulatory burden and saved the economy $3.4 million and required just 518,940 hours of paperwork, according to the study.
The abundance of rules issued by federal agencies with little fanfare comes as businesses are already getting squeezed over the highest inflation in roughly 40 years.
The costs of complying with these administrative directives are passed along to consumers. A study by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce estimated that the total cost for Americans to comply with federal regulations is larger than $1.8 trillion, more than the gross domestic product of Mexico.
Some of the Biden administration’s new regulations hit just days before the midterm elections, with 10 new rules costing roughly $1 billion falling into place during just the first four days of November.
Of those rules, the most costly is an Environmental Protection Agency plan to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a chemical said to contribute to climate change. The rule is expected to cost the economy $740 million while offering just $125 million in climate benefits, according to data from the EPA and American Action Forum.
“It’s sort of rare,” Mr. Bosch said of the slew of November rules. “When we see a billion dollars of rules imposed in a week, it sort of pops out and makes us take notice.”
An EPA regulation issued last year that imposed tighter pollution standards for cars and trucks is the most expensive measure proposed so far, according to the American Action Forum’s study. The group estimates the regulation will cost the economy $180 billion.
Mr. Biden‘s regulations are part of his plan to transform business and end what he sees as anti-competitive business practices. Without the regulations, Mr. Biden said, businesses can stifle competition, raise prices and limit consumer choice. The regulations are also designed to give workers more power to demand higher wages and mobility, the president has said.
A 2017 University of Pennsylvania study, however, concluded that regulations created as many jobs as they eliminated across the entire economy. The study found that regulation-induced costs resulted in higher wages and more job creation in sectors such as clean energy, though it did not provide exact numbers.
Still, the rule-making frenzy is a shock to businesses after Mr. Trump boasted that his deregulation gave businesses the confidence to invest and hire. He created the “one in, two out” order, which mandated the elimination of two regulations for every new rule imposed.
A study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute found that Mr. Trump ultimately eliminated 3.2 regulations for every new rule.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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