Government Regulations Have Net Benefits: Not A News Flash

Posted by | July 7, 2011 13:30 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

OK, maybe it is a news flash to Republicans who held another hearing this week on inane ways to make it harder to write regulations.  But to anyone who pays attention to the data, the benefits of regulations outweigh the costs.  From the latest report to Congress on the subject.

The estimated annual benefits of major Federal regulations reviewed by OMB from October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2010, for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs, are in the aggregate between $132 billion and $655 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $44 billion and $62 billion. These ranges reflect uncertainty in the benefits and costs of each rule at the time that it was evaluated.

The report also details how benefits have gone up under the Obama administration (although they are positive for every administration since Reagan).  Much of the blather about the cost of regulation ignores that regulations have benefits like lives saved, illnesses averted, and technological innovation.  This annual report is a good reminder of that fact.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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