Rising Red Tape Erodes Economic Freedom in United States

James Gattuso /

Red tape chokes economic freedom

Red tape – rules, regulations, restrictions and mandates imposed on America – rose alarmingly in 2009, mirroring the overall decline in economic freedom in the United States, as reported in this year’s Index of Economic Freedom.
That’s the conclusion of an upcoming Heritage Foundation report detailing trends in federal regulation. In fact, the cost of new regulations imposed on Americans during fiscal 2009 was the highest in 17 years, weighing in at over $14 billion per year.

Perhaps surprisingly, most of these new regulations were adopted by the Bush Administration. In part, that is due to the normal ebb and flow of rulemaking: the last year of every presidential administration is always a busy one. Still, conventional wisdom to the contrary, the Bush years were hardly a time of deregulation. By every measure, regulation increased, rather than decreased, during President Bush’s eight years in office.