Beginning in 1942, bipartisan efforts from Congress and the President have attempted to address the rising cost and complexity of regulations. Click through to explore the history and impact of U.S. federal regulatory reform.
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Executive orders are directives passed down directly by the president. While they carry weight, they are far less intrusive or impactful as statutes.
Government statutes are regulations instituded by congressional approval (?) and can have a serious impact on the efficiency, profitability, and feasability of small businesses throughout the country.
Interpreting the Timeline
This timeline summarizes the successes and failures of U.S. federal regulatory reform. Each summary contains an overview of the reform's goals, duration, and outcomes. In measuring outcomes, we considered the relative cost of federal regulation and regulatory budget. Additionally, each pin is color-coded to indicate Democrat and Republican representation in Congress. A longer summary is available for each reform by clicking "Read Full Summary."
Over the past 70 years, 30 major regulatory reform initiatives were introduced with the goal of making federal agencies more efficient, transparent, and accountable.
- Nearly 1.1 million federal regulatory restrictions exist, and that doesn't include overlapping state and local regulations!
- Almost 10% of our annual GDP ($16,000 per American household) is spent on federal compliance.
- We have no reliable estimate of the social benefits we get in return.
If politicians all agree on the need to take action, why has nothing worked? In sum:
- Congress continues to pass laws mandating more agency regulations.
- Agencies have little incentive to streamline or retire outdated, conflicting, or poorly written rules.
- Reforms typically add more reporting requirements, but rarely establish performance metrics for agencies.
Argive is building a new approach to modernize regulatory review with the power of open data and large-scale citizen feedback. With better information, policymakers and researchers can make informed regulatory decisions in the public interest.