- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Congress and the federal agencies may give the impression of being a do-nothing entity, but the numbers don’t lie, and what the numbers are saying is that feds pushed through 54 new and finalized rules in the last week.

That compares to 68 the previous week.

And that was over a Memorial holiday period, when the required government go-to-work week constituted of a total of four days.

Goodness, guys — how many more rules could America possibly need?

Hat tip to the government watchdog nonprofit Competitive Enterprise Institute for tallying and noting that the 58 rules published in the Federal Register last week comes out to about “a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.”

So far this year, federal agencies have put forward 1,357 final regulations, setting the government on track to issue a total of 3,201 by the end of 2018. That’s only slightly less than the tally for 2017, at 3,281.

And get this, as CEI wrote: “Rules are called ‘economically significant’ is they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Two such rules have been published this year, none in the last week. The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations is $215 million.”

Small businesses, in particular, set their sights on the Federal Register because compliance costs can kill. So far this year, the Federal Register has published 224 new rules aimed at small businesses — 11 of which are deemed economically significant.

Among last week’s?

An Environmental Protection Agency rule about spinach proteins, establishing a “temporary exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of [certain types of] the spinach defensin proteins … in or on citrus” that affects crop and animal producers. A Library of Congress-slash-Copyright Office rule to amend its regulations over the deposit of “certain types of literary works and musical compositions.” And a Food and Nutrition Service rule to “reduce paperwork in the summer food service program.”

Only in government does it require paperwork to reduce paperwork; only in government does it require an actual comment period and written rule to get rid of unnecessary documents.

But hey. One step forward — two steps backward, right? That’s why a limited government and a thriving private market work best.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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