I surprised myself and did some actual sleuthing so I could appear smart and well informationed on the topic I’m about to expound upon. And, as you know, I have a penchant to cut out all the big words and put things in a conversational manner. It’s called causerie and the definition can be found in your friendly neighborhood Funk and Wagnalls.
According to Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D. (RANGE Magazine, Summer2013) the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated that in 2011 it took “8.7 billion hours” (yes friends, that’s billion with a B) to complete all the regulatory paperwork required to make sure all the thousands upon thousands of regulations in our country are complied with properly and lawfully.
I questioned Dr. Coffman’s figures and went straight to the OMB, in a round-about way, and confirmed his statement was correct – 8.783 billion to be exactly exact.
Let’s take that a step further and examine the costs to the American taxpayer, and I hope you are seated as you read the following. If you have one handy you might consider taking a Valium.
The OMB states we can take a figure of $20 per hour per worker. I did, and the total wages paid to the compilers collectively, was in the neighborhood of 177 billion bucks. Nice neighborhood, indeed.
But then one must consider that these government employees are paid a wage plus a great benefits package. Then, for some there’s a travel stipend, lodging, meals per diem and that list goes on ad nauseum.
Bottom line cost to the taxpayers in the United States to regulate the regulations is somewhere north of 1.6 TRILLION dollars yearly. Go ahead, check it out. Go to omb.gov.
As we speak there are at least 2,400 new and amendable regulations in either the 30-day, 60-day or 90-day stages, waiting for approval. In fact, according to the National Federation of Independent
Business (NFIB), January of this year there were 28,679 “notices, proposed and final regulations posted to regulations.gov.” Yikes.
The NFIB calls it “Obama’s Regulatory Tidal Wave.”
For the most part, these regulations were never publicized, never taken to the general public for approval or disapproval. Most, especially regulations put through by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were written, submitted and passed clandestinely and with the credo “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” The EPA knows that in 95% of the cases their findings and regulations will never be tested so they can do about anything they want.
I have asked politicians, lawyers, judges, radiator repairmen and political pundits across this nation why, if a bill is submitted as a new law but would be considered unconstitutional as a law, it can be submitted as a regulation and if passed is just fine and dandy and has the teeth of a law?
The trucker’s log book is a good case in point. It is not a law that forces a trucker to self-incriminate him/herself when filling out the log book. If it were law, it would be unquestionably unconstitutional. So they simply label the log book as a regulation, which apparently renders it immune from constitutional law.
A lot of laws imposed upon the unknowing public are actually regulations. Government feels the word “law” looks better on road signs than does the word “regulation.” (Uses less paint too, thus doing something strictly foreign to government … saves money.)
There are a bazillion regulations governing guns. There are very few regulations governing knives. But still, there are as many people getting hurt or killed with knives are there are guns.
If a person went fishing and needed to know all the regulations governing the sport of fishing, he would need to carry a tome of well over one hundred thousand words. So goes hunting.
We have regulations regulating regulations. There are regulations governing the number of chickens one can have in an urban setting. Six is the usual number and you cannot have one of those annoyingly annoying roosters.
When you go out to “have a few” it had better be just a few. There are regulations governing bartenders as to how many drinks they can legally serve a customer. There are regulations governing how many inches of rubber on each tire on a semi must touch the pavement Unbelievably there is still a regulation in Connecticut that states all trucks with a sleeper berth must have white sheets on the bed.
There are regulations governing the tensile strength of a condom.
There are regulations governing saddle makers and repairers. My cousin the pharmacist is being inundated with new regulations governing his profession.
And again the list is endless.
Apparently there are no regulations governing the amount the Internal Revenue Service can spend on an agency “meeting.”
Most of these regulations were thought to instill a degree of safety in our lives. Someone mis-thought.
My old buddy in a former life, Thomas Jefferson, told me one time, “We need protection from those who are trying to protect us.”
That’s it for now folks. Thanks for listening.
Virgil Vaupel is The Courier's Hinsdale correspondent.