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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Strangled By Red Tape

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While the rest of us are focused on debates about debt and taxes, the Heritage folks look at he astounding cost of regulation on the private sector.

 

In the just-released “Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report,” The Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso and Diane Katz explain the pervasiveness of government’s intrusive regulatory hand (that oftentimes goes go well beyond ensuring product safety) and how it controls nearly every facet of your daily life.

Do you heat your home? Light your rooms? Buy and cook food? Watch TV? If the answer is “yes,” then you’ve fallen under federal regulation. And you’re paying for it, too. Gattuso and Katz explain how every product imaginable costs more because of regulations:

The costs of regulation are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and limited product choices. Basic items, such as toilets, showerheads, light bulbs, mattresses, washing machines, dryers, cars, ovens, refrigerators, television sets, and bicycles all cost significantly more because of government decrees on energy use, product labeling, and performance standards that go well beyond safety—as well as hundreds of millions of hours of testing and paperwork to document compliance.

The annual cost of regulation—$1.75 trillion by one frequently cited estimate—represents twice the amount of individual income taxes collected last year. Overall, from the beginning of the Obama Administration to mid-fiscal year (FY) 2011, regulators have imposed $38 billion in new costs on the American people, more than any comparable period on record. Consider Washington’s red tape to be a hidden tax.

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