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Government in action: In response to two executive orders by President Obama ordering federal agencies to review their regulations to eliminate red tape and streamline government operations, federal bureaucrats added 6.5 million paperwork hours to their workload and increased regulatory costs by $16 billion even as they wrote these reviews.
The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs. “The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.
The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011. However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.
No one should be surprised by this. Asking agencies to review their regulations will instead be seen by them as a glorious opportunity to justify their existence with more work. The way to eliminate these regulations is for the elected officials in charge to, surprise!, eliminate these regulations. Don’t ask the bureaucrats to do it. Tell them to do it.
And when these bureaucrats go to the press to complain and say how the elimination of this or that regulation will cause the sky to fall, the politicians have to have the courage to not back down, even when the press teams up with the bureaucrats to slander them for trying to bring the federal government under control.