Study: Economic regulations on the rise

Economic regulations are increasing at a greater pace than environmental and health regulations, as the Obama administration tries to prevent another financial collapse in the wake of the Great Recession, according to a new study.

The study from The George Washington University's Regulatory Studies Center finds that the budgets of economic regulators have increased 4.5 percent this year, but are only up 1.4 percent at social regulatory agencies to promulgate environmental, health and safety rules.


Economic regulators project their budgets will increase by another 4.1 percent next year, according to the study, which was co-authored by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy at Washington University.

"This appears to be due mainly to the regulatory activity authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act," the authors of the study wrote.

The Obama administration and a Democratic-led Congress pushed through the Dodd-Frank finance bill in 2010 to prevent another recession from wrecking havoc around the country. This bill has contributed to thousands of new economic regulations. 

For instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to hire an additional 462 workers throughout this year, as spending increased by 33 percent at the agency — which is expected to give the agency more time to write more rules.

The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to hire an additional 198 workers this year; spending increased by more than 10 percent.

But the study also found the agencies that don't rely on Congress for all of their funding have seen more growth in their budgets as of late, because they also receive money from the fees they charge industry groups. 

With the increased budgets, economic regulators are able to hire more workers and promulgate new rules, the study found.

"Agencies that are at least partially funded by fees on the entities they regulate are generally growing at a faster rate than those that depend on appropriations from general funding," the study found.