Study: Workers take a pay cut from pricey regs

Workers take a pay cut under the heavy regulatory hand of Uncle Sam, according to a new study.

The conservative American Action Forum found that the federal government has issued 19 regulations that cost $1 billion or more over the last decade, with 12 of them coming from the Obama administration and seven from the George W. Bush administration.

The energy and manufacturing industries have been hit the hardest by these regulations, according to the study, with the two mostly costly both coming in 2012 under the Obama administration.

The impact has been fewer jobs and lower pay.

"The effect of any one regulation is often overblown," said Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum (AAF), who wrote the report. "But when you say to a particularly industry that you're going to have to comply with $5 billion to $10 billion in regulations, that money has to come from somewhere."

This study, which focuses entirely on major regulations that cost more than $1 billion, comes on the heels of AAF's report from last week that found the Obama administration was responsible for nearly $500 billion in regulatory costs during the president's first five years in office. That translated into $447 billion in regulatory costs for each day the federal government was open last year.

Another recent study from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute found that the Obama administration issued 56 regulations for each law that Congress passed in 2013.

The most costly regulation in the AAF study is the Obama administration's fuel economy rules, which will cost $11.4 billion. The Mercury Air Toxics Standards rule that the Environmental Protection Agency implemented in 2012 is the second most expensive rule and it will cost $10.7 billion. Those two rules combined account for more than one-third of the total costs from all 19 billion regulations in the study.

While one big regulation rarely has a noticeable impact on an industry, multiple regulations can take a big chunk out of the pie, the study found.

According to the study, one major regulation reduces employment in an industry by 3 percent, while two regulations reduces employment by 17 percent, three regulations reduces employment by 25 percent, and four or more regulations reduced employment by 54 percent.

"But even if you're able to keep your job, you're likely looking at a reduced pay check," Batkins said.

An industry's payroll falls by nearly 20 percent when is hit with two major regulations, 25 percent for three regulations, and more than 60 percent when there are four or more regulations, the study claims.

Individual employees see their paychecks fall 2 percent when their industry is hit with two major regulations, nearly 8 percent for four regulations, and 12 percent where there are five or more regulations.

That means that a worker who was making $62,930 in an industry that is faced with five or more regulations would see his pay fall to $55,190.

The study looked only at major regulations that had an economic impact of $1 billion or more.