Friday, December 9, 2011

OMB report: 10-year benefits of fed regs outweigh costs by $593 billion

The NET BENEFIT of federal regulations over the last 10 years may be as much as $593 billion dollars according to a recent report from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In 1999, Republicans pushed through The Regulatory Right-to-Know Act, sponsored by Commerce Committee chairman Tom Bliley (R-Va.) and Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.).  The act requires the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare annual statements detailing the estimated costs and benefits of federal regulatory programs.  Republicans planned to use the data from these OMB reports to demand an end to “job killing” federal regulations by vividly demonstrating their huge cost to the country. 

Well, you probably will not hear too much from Republicans about OMB’s most recent findings.

OMB’s most recent report is out covering the period from October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2010.  OMB found that federal regulations cost between $44 and $62 billion and generated between $132 billion and $655 billion in benefits.  In other words, the benefits of federal regulations outweighed the costs of compliance by $88 billion to $593.3 billion over that 10-year period.  The table below gives a breakdown of the costs and benefits by agency as shown in the OMB report.

Thank you Republicans for giving us a tool to show just how valuable federal regulations are to the country.  Even at their highest estimated cost, federal regulations provide a return of $2 for every $1 they cost and perhaps as much as nearly $10 for every $1.  Not bad, not bad at all.

Table 1-1: Estimates of the Total Annual Benefits and Costs of Major Federal Rules by Agency, October 1, 2000 - September 30, 2010 (billions of 2001 dollars)
Number of Rules
Department of Agriculture
0.9 to 1.3
1.0 to 1.34
Department of Energy
8.0 to 10.9
4.5 to 5.1
Department of Health and Human Services
18.0 to 40.5
3.7 to 5.2
Department of Homeland Security
< 0.1
< 0.1
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Justice
1.8 to 4.0
0.8 to 1.0
Department of Labor
0.4 to 1.5
0.4 to 0.5
Department of Transportation (DOT)
14.6 to 25.5
7.5 to 14.3
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)16
81.8 to 550.7
23.3 to 28.5
Joint DOT and EPA
3.9 to 18.2
1.7 to 4.7
131.7 to 655.0
43.7 to 61.7

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