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Compliance Is Costly

March 8, 2013 by  

Those expensive Federal regulations. Just how much does it cost private enterprise to comply with all of the Federal regulations that have been promulgated? According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C., the tab comes to more than half-a-trillion dollars a year. The CEI says the most costly agencies are the Environmental Protection Agency, whose regulations cost businesses $353 billion a year; the Department of Health and Human Services, at $185 billion; and the Federal Communications Commission, at $142 billion a year. Just think how many more jobs could be created — and taxes paid — if some of those regulatory restrictions could be eased.

Democrats stiff company for $10 million. Although it didn’t receive any publicity at the time, Duke Energy guaranteed a $10 million line of credit to a local host committee for last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Now it turns out that the group doesn’t have any money left to repay the electrical power company. No problem, says Duke CEO Jim Rogers. It will write off the loss as a business expense, meaning company shareholders will foot most of the bill.

A dependable voice for more spending. Has Nobel Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman ever met a Federal spending project he doesn’t like? I don’t think so. In an appearance on the “Charlie Rose” TV show a few days ago, Krugman said, “The crucial issue right now is, are we going to keep on cutting spending and derailing this recovery, or are we going to at least try to spend [the money] that this economy needs?” Of course the truth is, even if every penny of the sequester takes effect (which it won’t), Federal spending will actually go up this year, not down.

Now can we build that pipeline? Barack Obama’s latest excuse for not approving the Keystone XL pipeline was that he was waiting for the State Department to complete its review of the project. Well, that report was finally released last Friday. And guess what? It said that the pipeline would produce “no substantial change in global greenhouse gas emissions.” Does this mean the project to transport oil from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast will finally get an OK from the White House? Don’t count on it. The “green energy” movement is still opposed to it.

–Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • Bill

    What the regulations cost us is our free market capitalist system. After all, that is the real reason they are there.

    Defund the EPA!!!

  • Jeanette

    Did no one believe Obama when he said he was going to redistribute the wealth?

  • Chester

    Bill, a lot of those regulations keep our air breathable, among other things. Just think how much cheaper it would be to burn coal if you didn’t have to capture the soot and other major particle contaminants before they left the stack. Just think how much cheaper it would be to make steel if you didn’t have to worry about your stack gases, or the cooling water contamination. Just think about how nice it would be if every employer didn’t have to withhold that seven and a half percent for social security, and match it from their own pocket, or worry about workman’s compensation insurance. It used to be that if a steelworker fell, he was fired before he hit the ground for walking off the job. NO payment for medical expenses or life insurance if he died. Quite a number of things would be cheaper if Uncle didn’t have his nose in big business’s business, but the cost to society as a whole would far exceed the current cost to businesses as a whole.

    • independent thinker

      Chester there are plenty of regulations out there that need to be either streamlined or done away with. One example (which by the way was altered) occured under Cliton/Gore. For a time any wet spot anywhere no matter the size or location was could be declaired a wetland. This included a low spot in your yard that had standing water for a certain number of days and had a couple of frogs or other water loving animals or plants in it. There are plenty of other examples of stupid or outdated rules and regulations that are still in effect.

    • shaver58

      I’m all for common sense regs but most are not common sense! recycling common sense tells you that is the right thing to do, calling rain water a pollutant is a wacko thing and costs a lot to defend in court! Common sense regs every one gets but a lot of regs are put in place just to further someones agenda and that needs to stop!

  • BillT

    Some regulation is good. Most regulation is un-needed, un-wanted and just pure BS. To me, most regulation is put in place so business’ can be fined.

    • empty pockets

      Regulations and often enough, laws, are put in place to solidify control (and gain money) over others–either the whole of an industry or group or the competitors of supporters of those in power. Oh, it’s true that laws are needed as are regulations to properly define the laws in action. But there are far too many of both for all of them to have been done with good intentions. And Dean is correct. The true cost of compliance is felt in every strata of the economy by every person eventually. We see it in higher costs, lower quality and reduction of choices. God bless John Stossel. He has covered this many times and will, I hope, continue to do so.

  • Dean Striker

    This only scratches the surface, e.g.:
    What is the real cost of attorneys and accounting needed only for IRS withholding, records and compliance? Make-Work which has nothing to do with managing a truly free enterprise?

  • Johnnie

    Every government agency should be “advisory”, not mandatory. If the EPA has a beef with someone they should have to take it to the appropriate law enforcement agency, have them press charges, and make the violator have their day in court – due process. This would help rid us of the bureaucratic garbage.


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