Study: Consumers face $15K regulatory burden

Not only are businesses finding themselves squeezed from government regulations, but the average U.S. household also pays nearly $15,000 a year in trickle-down costs, a new study finds. 

The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a report Tuesday that finds consumers spent 23 percent of their household income in 2013 to pay for the federal government's regulatory burden passed onto them from businesses.

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"This exceeds every item in the household budget except housing — more than health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel, services, and savings," wrote Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at CEI, which is often critical of regulations and favors small government.

The busiest regulatory agencies in the Obama administration include the Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department, Commerce Department, Interior Department, Transportation Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the study found.

According to the study, consumers paid a total of more than $1.8 trillion in regulatory costs in 2013, which is more than the GDP of Canada.

But businesses also pay a hefty price to comply with federal regulations, the study found. In fact, small businesses with fewer than 20 workers pay $10,585 per employee, while businesses with 500 or more workers pay $7,755 per employee, according to the study.

That included nearly 80,000 pages dedicated to more than 3,650 new rules that were published in the Federal Register last year, or about 10 rules a day, the study found.

By contrast, Congress only passed 72 laws, which means the Obama administration adopted about 51 rules for each law, according to the study.

Regulatory policy advocate Amit Narang for Public Citizen said, "it’s remarkable CEI is complaining about supposed overregulation. Some of their statistics are actually based on a years-old report that was completely debunked by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service."

"The good news is, the benefits of updated public protections are dwarfing the costs. Just this morning the Supreme Court approved an EPA rule that will require power plants to reduce their toxic emissions, saving literally thousands of lives every single year."