by Ross Dubberly

Is there ever a point where government imposes such a large number of regulations that it simply drowns hard-working Americans with insurmountable bureaucracy? As far as the Left is concerned—and if the legacy of the Obama administration provides any indication—the answer is a resolute “No!”

But let us consider a few simple facts that should alarm all of us.

The Federal Register, the journal that contains all of the nation’s federal rules and regulations, ran 95,894 pages in 2016 under President Barack Obama—the greatest length ever in U.S. history.

Thanks to the regulatory rollback of the Trump administration, however, the Register was reduced 36 percent, to a still staggering 61,308 pages, by the end of 2017.

61,308 pages! That is over 83 times the length of James Joyce’s Ulysses and over 50 times the length of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

It would take the average reader nearly two and a half months to read the Federal Register from cover to cover.

The pages of the Register, stacked on top of one another, would reach over twenty feet in height. That is taller than the average male giraffe.

These excessive regulations impose significant costs on all Americans, including young people.

According to a recent Competitive Enterprise Institute study, “The estimate for regulatory compliance and economic effects of federal intervention is $1.9 trillion annually…[and] the estimated burden of regulation is equivalent to nearly half the level of federal spending, expected to be $4.1 trillion in 2018.”

It would be bad enough if the Federal Register were just a big waste of paper. But these regulations are far from benign. Hardly anyone is insulated from the crushing burden of these regulations and their costs.

Students are no exception. “America’s more than 6,000 colleges receive on average one new rule, regulation or guidance letter each workday from the Education Department,” Senator Lamar Alexander wrote in a 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed. These regulations “soak up state dollars that could otherwise help reduce tuition.”

The Senate education committee, for instance, found that Vanderbilt University steers $150 million—11 percent of its expenditures—just to ensure it is in compliance with federal regulations.

And this is to say nothing about how these regulations dictate which schools are able to get federal grants or about how they effectively discourage counseling for students against taking out huge loans.

There is likely not a soul in America willing to argue that every one of the regulations in the Federal Register is necessary. Today’s regulatory nightmare is the antithesis of the principles of freedom on which our nation was founded.

The Trump administration should continue to dismantle our monstrous bureaucracy and return more control into the hands of Americans.


Ross Dubberly is the co-chairman of the University of Georgia Young Americans for Freedom chapter.

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