President Obama on Thursday set a record for the most pages of federal rules and regulations ever issued in a year by one president, adding 572 pages to the Federal Register, bringing his 2016 total to 81,640 pages.
And he still has weeks left to add to that figure.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which tracks such activity, points out Obama has generated eight of the top 11 years for rules ever.
George W. Bush took 5th, in 2008, and 9th and 10th, in 2004 and 2002.
So far, Obama has generated 635,448 pages of rules, or 217 per day, or nine for every hour he’s been president. (That assumes a full eight-year term, so actually those numbers will go up with any more he produces before he leaves office).
The pages, assuming a ream of 500 is about two inches tall, would create a tower of fine print for more than 211 feet tall – the height of a 20-story building.
And assuming one could read one page in 30 seconds, it still would take nearly 5,300 hours to wade through.
“No one knows what the future holds, but at a pace of well over 1,000 pages weekly, the Federal Register could easily top 90,000 pages this year. The simple algebra says that at the current pace we’ll add 11,190 pages over the next 44 days, to end 2016 at around 92,830 pages, CEI said.
Columnist Clyde Walter Crews at CEI wrote: “This is astonishing and should be of great concern, and intolerable, to policymakers. It is remarkable enough that the all-time record has been passed before Thanksgiving.”
Previous presidents topped out at 79,435 for George W. Bush, 74,258 for Bill Clinton, 73,258 for Jimmy Carter, 57,973 for George Bush and 57,736 for Ronald Reagan.
“We don’t need a pen and phone, we need a meat axe,” Crews wrote.
Obama’s page totals are 81,640 for 2016 (and counting), 81,405 for 2010, 81,247 for 2011, 80,260 for 2015, 79,311 for 2013, 78,961 for 2012, 77,687 for 2014 and 74,937 for 2009.
WND reported only days ago Obama was vowing to make it difficult for his successor, Trump, to roll back his rules.
Republicans said in September they expected an onslaught of new rules and regulations.
Roll Call described those moves by presidents late in their terms as a “last opportunity to lock in rules on legacy issues.”
Obama had given Congress warning, stating in 2014 that when Congress didn’t do what he wanted, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”
One estimate from earlier in 2016 said his “pen and phone” will cost the economy “roughly $80 billion over the next 10 years and eliminate 150,000 jobs.”
The Hill reported Obama was frantically issuing rules earlier this year, because those issued late in his term will be subject to the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress a period of time to cancel them.
At that time, Charles Murray, the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of several high-profile and controversial books, including “Losing Ground,” “The Bell Curve” and “Coming Apart,” commented.
His latest work is “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Charles Murray:
While the growth of government spans many decades, Murray said much of the unchecked power of federal regulators can be traced to a brief span in the Franklin Roosevelt administration.
“It all happened in a period of about five years, from 1937-1943, where you had half-a-dozen key Supreme Court cases which very explicitly said, ‘We are now going to adopt a new interpretation of what the text of the Constitution says, and this new interpretation unleashes the government from the strict limits that the Constitution previously put on them,'” Murray said.
He said a 1943 case changed the regulatory course of America forever.
“The Supreme Court said it’s OK for Congress to write legislation that has a high-minded purpose and vague words for saying what that purpose is and then leave it up to the regulatory agency to develop regulations independently of any further legislative guidance on how to implement this high-minded objective,” said Murray.
“That was the moment at which the regulatory state basically got its declaration of independence. It took a couple of decades to take off, but that’s where it started,” he said.
As far back as 2013, Obama’s rules were already eight times longer than the Bible.