Red tape and hidden taxes: Federal regulations cost US economy billions

Americans are increasingly trapped by the Obama administration’s bureaucratic red tape, and it’s costing the economy billions of dollars, according to two new reports from right-leaning think tanks.

In 2014, the US executive branch added 27 new “prescriptive” major rules, bringing the administration’s total to 184 major regulations during President Barack Obama’s term-and-a-half in the White House, the Heritage Foundation revealed in a new study on the rise of red tape under Obama.

Regulations are deemed “major” or “economically significant” when they are expected to cost the economy $100 million or more annually, the study’s authors, James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz noted.“Prescriptive” rules increase burdens on individual or private-sector activity.

The 184 prescriptive rules introduced by the Obama administration since 2009 is estimated to be nearly $80 billion a year, “although the actual cost of this massive expansion of the administrative state is obscured by the large number of rules for which costs have not been fully quantified,” they wrote.

“This appears to be unparalleled with any prior administration, and that total dollar figure is from about 184 major rules,” Katz told “Now, I caution that that $80 billion figure is a pretty low estimate because the administration has failed in many rules to actually calculate the cost as they’re supposed to do.”

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