Heritage study finds $70 billion in Obama regulatory costs

New regulations enacted during President Obama’s first term cost Americans an additional $70 billion, and the price tag is only expected to rise, according to a study issued by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The total represents more than 130 major rules – those that carry an economic impact of at least $100 million, the group’s study finds. It identifies 25 such rules in 2012 alone, mostly stemming form the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and places last year’s cost of new regulations at $23.5 billion. 

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“The consequences are dire: less investment and innovation, fewer jobs, and the erosion of fundamental freedoms,” the foundation said in a statement.

In terms of expense, the Environmental Protection Agency is listed as the biggest offender, promulgating new rules under the Clean Air and Clean Water acts that cost almost $40 billion according to the study.

The Heritage study stands in stark contrast to a White House report released last month, which found hundreds of billions of dollars worth of benefits from new rules imposed during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) draft report to Congress found that regulations reviewed by the White House between 2002 and last year yielded up to $800 billion in benefits, vastly more than their costs.

President Obama has repeatedly said his administration is working to scrap or scale back regulations that are overly burdensome, ineffective or duplicative.

“In the coming year, agencies will continue to pursue the regulatory reforms identified in the review process, producing more in savings by simplifying rules, eliminating redundancies and identifying more cost-effective ways of completing their mission and serving the American people,” a section of the President’s 2014 budget proposal reads.

But the Heritage report notes that some 131 new rules, many required by Dodd-Frank and Obama’s signature health law, are now in the pipeline and predicts that regulatory costs would continue to skyrocket during the president’s second term.

“While the President has acknowledged the need to rein in regulation, little has been done to address the problem. Instead, it is getting worse,” the report concludes.