Ten Thousand Commandments for Tax Day

Just in time for tax day, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has published Ten Thousand Commandments by economist Wayne Crews.

Ten Thousand Commandments tells us that the Code of Federal Regulations is now over 157,000 pages long. In 2009, 3,503 new rules went into effect — that’s a new regulation every 2 1/2 hours, day and night, seven days a week — regulating everything from pork rinds to ladders. Hardly any were repealed.

Americans paid more than $900 billion in income taxes in 2009 and the federal government’s regulations are estimated to cost that much PLUS another quarter-trillion — $1.24 trillion in all.  That’s larger than the Gross Domestic Product of Canada! 

CEI reports that “regulations often unfairly benefit established big companies at the expense of smaller firms or start-ups. In fact, regulatory compliance costs small firms (those with fewer than 20 workers) 43 percent more than it costs big firms, according to economist W. Mark Crain.” So, if you’re a mega corporation with a team of DC lobbyists on staff, mandating programs onto your small competitors makes perfect financial sense — especially if your DC lobbyists are busy securing subsidies too! It’s a win-win-lose situation.

Per Ten Thousand Commandments, more than 95 percent of the cost of federal regulations is “off-budget” meaning these federal mandates have to be obeyed by businesses which absorb, then pass along to you — in the form of higher prices — the regulatory compliance costs. But remember, this costs the little guy 43% more, forcing you to transfer your shopping from the farmers market and Mom and Pop on Main Street to Wall Mart.

Federal costs are hidden in everything you buy, taxing you again with another layer of invisible federally driven taxes.

All this means that the cost to us of the huge federal government – a government sector that was designed to be limited and small and efficient — is about a third higher than what it directly spends. In all, about 30 percent of the economy goes to paying for the federal government — at the expense of small farms, little companies and Mom and Pop on Main Street.  

Think on it — 157,000 pages of federal regulations. You probably broke a couple of rules getting out of bed this morning (ignorance of the law is no excuse!).

Goodness! Where’s a burning bush when you need one? 

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