- - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Runaway regulations are hurting everyday people and wrecking family budgets. It’s not big companies that suffer from the $1.88 trillion annual burden of red tape that the government imposes. They add the costs onto their price tags.

Unaffordable health care coverage, unaffordable electric bills, unaffordable rises in food costs, unaffordable college, and unaffordable appliances are parts of the skyrocketing burden of regulations, usually dictated from Washington.

Millions of Americans who no longer pay federal income tax nevertheless have a stake in controlling the size of government, because their family budgets are ruined by higher prices resulting from regulations. All costs of regulations are passed along by businesses to consumers.

The average is $15,000 per household per year, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s new annual report “Ten Thousand Commandments” (https://cei.org/10kc2015), with a collective cost of $1.88 trillion. Last year alone, President Obama’s hand-picked bureaucrats created $567 per person of new red tape by creating 75,000 pages of more regulations. That’s a one-year regulatory increase of over $2,000 for a household of four.

Because that overall $1.88 trillion number is too big to swallow, people need to get the details one bite at a time. Providing those digestible bites is the mission of the new nonprofit Americans for Less Regulation. Its website (www.AmericansForLessRegulation.com), when finished, will provide an avalanche of specifics. Until then, many are being posted on its Facebook site (www.facebook.com/LessRegulation).

What is hurting your family budget?

Skyrocketing electric bills? Red-tape requirements from the EPA and alternative energy mandates are a huge cause.

A study by The New York Times revealed that gasoline savings don’t compensate for the higher sticker prices on automobiles, higher prices which are caused by federal gas mileage mandates.

Appliance costs have already soared for some items and will soon jump up for others, due to power-savings mandates from the federal bureaucracy. So say goodbye to many of your home’s labor-saving devices. Are you ready to wash your clothes by hand?

Do federally-required light bulbs actually save you money? Not necessarily. It takes a ton of savings to come out ahead when you replace a 25-cent light bulb with a $10 version. Few people monitor each bulb they buy, but the new ones often fall far short of their advertised lifespan. Plus their output dims over time.

Your Christmas lights next year may cost twice the price, due to federal regulations that supposedly will save seven lives (in our country of 320 million people).

Prices of window blinds are going up $1 billion due to regulations (almost $7 extra for each of the 150 million sets sold each year), with a claim that 11 lives will be saved.

The new federal consumer agency is snooping on your financial records, under the pretext of rescuing you from the private sector. They’ve become as bad as the NSA!

Regulations from Obamacare alone are doubling the insurance premiums for millions. But even pre-Obamacare, a huge chunk of your health care expenses were caused by red tape. A study for the American Hospital Association determined that doctors, nurses, and other providers spend 25 percent to 50 percent of their time complying with federal regulations rather than caring for patients.

Nothing is safe from the bureaucrats. Chanel No. 5 is redoing the formula for its legendary scent, due to new government rules. And now the EPA is going after nail salons.

The examples are plentiful, and Americans for Less Regulation will continue to point them out.

Runaway regulations are at the heart of government’s outlandish growth and interference in our lives. Regulatory reform will happen only when everyday Americans demand it. With today’s record level of giveaways, millions mistakenly think more and bigger government is their generous friend. But it’s not the solution; it’s the problem.

Former Congressman Ernest Istook is president of Americans for Less Regulation. Subscribe to his free newsletter at https://eepurl.com/JPojD.

• Ernest Istook can be reached at ejistook@gmail.com.

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