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Report: Obama In Line With Predecessors On Pace Of Regulation

Bloomberg dug through quite a bit of government data to answer a question that's been talked about quite a bit over the past few months: Has President Obama ushered in an era of costly business regulation? Republicans have made the claim regularly. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, said, "President Obama has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government."

What Bloomberg found tells another story:

Obama's White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven't reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush's father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

The average annual cost to businesses under Obama is higher than under his predecessors, the Bloomberg review shows. The increase is estimated to total as little as $100 million or as much as $4.1 billion, or at most three one-hundredths of a percent of the total economy.

That presents a mixed picture, but when Bloomberg steps way back, what they found is that Obama is pretty much in line with his predecessors and is below the record set by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Here's a bit more from Bloomberg:

Obama's White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush's administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.

The number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that's because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation...

If you're really interested, Bloomberg's piece is comprehensive, so we encourage you to click over.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.