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$245 billion in regulations: One factor behind the economic recovery that never happened.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 4.15.39 PMSource: Gallup Special Report: “No Recovery: An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline”

From the report text accompanying this  chart:

“OMB does not estimate which industries bear the burden of these regulations, but it is likely that they generally decrease profits and thus have a somewhat dampening effect on entrepreneurship. OMB does estimate benefits for each year, and these benefits are generally much higher than the costs, and each new regulation has to pass a cost-benefit ratio.

“One problem, however, is that these benefits are unlikely to contribute to economic growth in the same way as the costs detract from it. Many of the benefits come from projections for saving lives, and the benefit of saving one statistical life is often close to $7 million.

“While that may be a valid measure, saving a statistically average life has little or no effect on GDP per capita on the margin, because a death changes the numerator and the denominator. It has the same effect as the average worker moving abroad.

“It makes sense to accept slightly lower economic productivity — using conventional measures — in exchange for a safer society, but it would be misleading to suggest that these regulations boost productivity because the benefits exceed the costs.

“Moreover, as Michael Mandel and Diana Carew have argued, the cost-benefit calculations performed by OMB for regulations take place in isolation of their interaction with existing regulations, but interactions and accumulations can create massive challenges in complexity as firms spend more time on compliance and less time on productive business activity.”