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Ten Thousand Commandments

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An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State

Clyde Wayne Crews

May 7, 2019

View the Full Report Here


Ten Thousand Commandments is the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual survey of the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations, and how they affect American consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy at large. Written by CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews, it shines a light on the large and under-appreciated “hidden tax” of America’s regulatory state. The current edition marks 26 years since the first report was published as part of the Journal of Regulation and Social Costs in 1993.

Federal government spending, deficits, and the national debt are staggering, but so is the impact of federal regulations. Unfortunately, the financial impact of these rules gets little attention in policy debates because, unlike spending and taxes, they are unbudgeted and difficult to quantify.


The 2019 report charts new territory as it updates the progress made as a result of President Trump’s efforts to cut red tape via executive order, the most aggressive effort at regulatory reform in over a quarter century. The report also includes a new section cataloguing President Trump’s regulatory impulses on issues ranging from antitrust to tech and telecom to food and drug matters, and more. While President Trump has slowed the momentum of the Obama years and implemented policies to incentivize further restraint, his own impulses and the long term agenda of the government’s executive agencies could easily stray back toward bureaucratic overreach without permanent reform by Congress.

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