Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Spectrum Will Make 4G an Economic Force Multiplier

Deloitte's new report, "The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth and U.S. Competitiveness," previews many of the technological, economic, and social benefits that we should expect from 4G mobile broadband. According to the report, "U.S. investment in 4G networks could fall in the range of $25-$53 billion during 2012-2016." Applying industry-specific multipliers, the report cites estimates that "conservatively, these investments could account for $73-$151 billion in GDP growth and 371,000-771,000 new jobs."

Moreover, "the GDP and job estimates do not take into account the wider effects of applying 4G technology, such as the production of new devices and applications; the creation of new companies; and better ways of working, living, and learning. Any attempt to quantify those effects confronts the difficulty of anticipating the way entrepreneurs will make use of the new platform — just as in the early days of 3G mobile broadband it was impossible to foretell how social networks, smartphones, and tablets would emerge." But given the improved performance characteristics of 4G, it’s a safe bet that 4G will lay the foundation for another generation of breakthrough innovations.

In terms of enhanced capabilities, the report points out that, "[f]rom a technical standpoint, 4G promises three benefits over 3G: increased throughput, lower latency, and stronger security.One result is a reduced cost per megabit." Moreover, "4G networks combined with cloud computing and other advanced technologies have the potential to facilitate interactions among all components of the ecosystem, and thereby accelerate the process through which supply and demand signals interact and create new economic activity."

We have been consistently urging Congress, NTIA, and the FCC on in their efforts to locate and auction more unencumbered spectrum for flexible commercial use. And the report similarly deems it a U.S. policymaking priority to ensure sufficient spectrum supply allocated by free market mechanisms. The report gives a nod to the NTIA/FCC joint effort to free up 500MHz of additional spectrum in the next decade. But it warns that even if that goal is achieved, it could be difficult to keep U.S. commercial wireless spectrum supply and demand in balance as interest in new 4G offerings grows." Thus, "there is a need to find additional ways to make better use of available spectrum and to unlock more."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Report: U.S. Wireless Consumers Enjoying Better Services with Lower Bills

"Americans get more value from wireless communications than anywhere else." That's the takeaway from a report released on August 24 Future and Roger Entner of Recon Analytics. "What's It Worth To You? Comparing Wireless Pricing in 14 Countries" analyzes recent trends in wireless prices and services in the U.S. and provides an international comparison. The numbers and analysis contained in the report reveal how Americans wireless consumers are reaping increasing value from wireless services and enjoying a comparative advantage than their counterparts in several other nations

As the report points out, in recent years, U.S. wireless consumers are getting more while paying less. For starters, prices for wireless voice services have dropped. "From 2007 to 2010, in the United States," says the report, "wireless voice spending per customer has declined by more than $12 per month and total spending on wireless services has declined by more than $4 per month."

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers are increasingly enjoying wireless data services, such as text messaging and wireless Internet. Although the average American spend approximately $7 more per month on wireless data services in 2010 than in 2007, all told their dollars are stretching even further than a few years ago: "Combining wireless voice and data spend, Americans are spending $4.38 less a month on mobile communications than they did three years ago, while the ability and opportunity to do more with their minutes and their bytes has expanded in an unprecedented way."

Taking the wireless markets in several foreign countries into account, the report provides an interesting comparison by "considering how long the average person has to work for their gross income to equal what they spend on a wireless subscription." And the report concludes that "[w]hen it comes to affordability, Americans lead the world: they can talk more than 19 minutes for every work minute." By contrast, consumers in Canada can only talk 4.6 minutes for every work minute, consumers in the U.K. can only talk for 2.4 minutes for every work minute, and consumers in Japan can only talk 1.6 minutes for every work minute.

The report also provides some interesting insight regarding wireless consumer surplus; that is, "the difference between what people actually spend versus what they are willing to spend," or "the amount that consumers are able to spend on other goods and services and are therefore better off by that amount." According to the report, "[t]he 2010 wireless voice consumer surplus in the U.S. was at least $448 billion per year or $1,480 per wireless subscriber in the United States per year." That's a near tripling of the consumer surplus since 2004.

Developments in the dynamic U.S. wireless market continue to enhance wireless consumer welfare. That's the hallmark of a free market characterized by competition. Numbers contained in the report on advanced wireless services and prices present striking evidence of the U.S. wireless market being "effectively competitive."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Address Problems with Wireless Applications, Not Regulations

News outlets have recently covered New York Senator Charles Schumer's urging wireless providers to deactivate stolen cellphones. The Senator is also reported to have sent letters urging the FCC and DOJ to study the United Kingdom's policies for deactivating stolen cellphones.

It's one thing for policymakers to merely urge wireless providers to take certain concerns into account in their business practices. But it's quite another thing to impose new regulations. Urging the FCC and DOJ to consider UK policies sounds like setting the groundwork for new regulations.

Considering the dramatic and dynamic innovation and growth of wireless in recent years has taken place in a light-touch regulatory environment, one should always think twice before imposing new regulations on wireless. When markets are characterized by rapidly changing technology, even well-meaning regulation has the potential to stifle innovative and impose costly controls.

And when it comes to wireless, the lesson for policymakers is that they should never underestimate the app. Wireless apps offer consumers countless ways to obtain functionalities for their own needs. As the FCC's latest Wireless Competition Report points out, "several application stores have launched within the last three years, with each offering thousands of applications for download." The total number of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store surpassed 6.5 billion by September 2010, and by that same time, "the Android Market had over 80,000 available applications and had passed one billion downloads." Ubiquitous, creative, and customizable wireless apps thus provide useful tools as well as ready solutions to problems, rendering well-intentioned regulatory mandates pointless, if not harmful.

Prior calls for FM chipset mandates in wireless devices or "bill shock" regulations miss the fact that wireless apps can deliver many of the same functionalities in an individualized manner that proposed regulations supposedly promise. Similarly, while advanced wireless devices may be attractive items to thieves, those devices also provide their own capabilities to for wireless consumers to protect themselves. There are a number of wireless apps available for consumers to password protect their devices and data, to lock down their devices remotely, and to track the location of their devices.

It's also worth remembering that once a wireless device is reported stolen, typically wireless providers terminate the customer's service to that device. That protects the consumer from incurring charges on the stolen device and sharply reduces the value to the thief who then has a device lacking service though the customer’s account.

When a wireless app can do the job, regulation becomes redundant and perhaps even irresponsible. So in the case of stolen cellphones, policymakers should always consider the ready consumer protections offered by wireless applications before taking a more heavy-handed approach by imposing new regulations.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eliminating Unnecessary Regulation

The Obama Administration's Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal touting the Administration's newfound interest in eliminating unnecessary regulation. This is welcome, because if Administration officials talk enough about reducing unnecessary regulations – regulations for which the costs outweigh the , they may start believing it actually needs to be done. And, to his credit, OIRA Administrator Sunstein seems intent on following through.

Over at the FCC, Chairman Genachowski, following the Administration's lead, is also talking about eliminating unnecessary regulations. In other words, he's talking the talk. Just yesterday, the FCC announced in a news release its intent to eliminate 83 outdated rules. They include the Fairness Doctrine rule, which hasn't been enforced for a quarter-century, and others, like the "broadcast flag" rule, which have not been subject to enforcement for years.

All well and good to get outdated rules off the books that have no practical effect. It will make the CFR books thinner.

But when the FCC starts eliminating outdated rules that are still being enforced, and, therefore, which do impose ongoing unnecessary burdens, then we'll know that Mr. Genachowski is actually walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saying No to Merger Review Regulation by Arbitration

The latest and most far-fetched attempt to bog down the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger is the subject of a handful of recent press reports. A law firm has been recruiting customers and filed arbitration claims on their behalf against AT&T in a number of jurisdictions across the country in an attempt to try to get arbitrators to tie up the deal.

Apparently, the law firm argues that AT&T customer contracts regarding individual billing disputes gives arbitrators the ability to decide antitrust claims under the Clayton Act. On the face of things, it seems bizarre to suggest that arbitrators are empowered to decide antitrust issues concerning AT&T/T-Mobile. Not surprisingly, AT&T has now filed lawsuits in those same jurisdictions to put a stop to the ploy.

AT&T/T-Mobile is already subject to review by two federal agencies – the U.S. Department of Justice as well as the FCC. DOJ's merger review, in fact, includes an antitrust analysis, focusing on anticompetitive concerns. Regardless of one's views of the competitive merits of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, those merits are best assessed through the federal regulatory process we have in place. And antitrust issues, in particular, are here best left to DOJ.

We've previously raised concerns about unnecessary duplication of federal merger review processes, as well as the drawbacks from saddling telecom mergers – including wireless mergers – with assorted state regulatory reviews. Now we see yet another unhelpful and most likely harmful obstacle to a sound merger review process, this time through a misuse of the arbitration process to disrupt AT&T/T-Mobile.

Tying up proposed mergers by ginning up lawsuits premised on strange notions of arbitrator activism is bad policy. And it's hardly the best approach to ensuring careful market analysis and promoting overall consumer welfare. In the end, the only good that could come of this legal excursion would be an eventual court appeal and definitive precedent to stand in the way of any similar future attempt to roadblock proposed telecom mergers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Prices and Profits in the Broadband Marketplace

I read this morning in the trade press that Free Press's Research Director Derek Turner is criticizing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for saying some kind words about usage-based pricing for broadband services.
According to yesterday's TR Daily [subscription required], Chairman Genachowski said on Tuesday that consumption-based pricing “can allow consumers that use less to be charged less,” and that it can “encourage efficiency and investment in networks.” And Communications Daily [subscription required] reports today that Mr. Genachowski said usage caps such as those adopted by AT&T and Verizon “fundamentally” may “provide consumers more choice."
Mr. Genachowski's comments follow on the heels of FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz's endorsement of usage-based pricing for broadband services this past June at the Cable Show. The FTC Chairman expressed surprise that more usage-based pricing plans had not already been adopted, pointing out that most other products on the market are priced based on the volume consumed by customers. According to Chairman Leibowitz, it is only rational that broadband would be treated the same way.
So, according to Communications Daily, here is what Mr. Turner said: “While the rest of the world is moving away from this type of price-gouging, it is puzzling why the FCC chairman would endorse a practice that in the long run will relegate the United States to an Internet backwater.” While acknowledging that adoption of usage-based pricing could help low-volume users “in theory," Mr. Turner said, "doing so would not help [the broadband providers] achieve their primary goal — continued explosive growth of profits."
I suppose, in theory, it is nice that Mr. Turner at least recognizes, in theory, that usage-based pricing may be beneficial to low-volume users. But, unfortunately, his utter disdain for corporate "profits," and his unremitting fondness for accusations of "price-gouging," blind him from recognizing that, in the real world, usage-based pricing promotes economic efficiency in a way that not only benefits low-volume users, but also enhances overall consumer welfare.
By generally railing against "profits" and "pricing gouging" as Free Press does consistently, Mr. Turner makes his intentions – once again – crystal-clear. What he really prefers is government-owned and operated communications networks, or at the very least, private sector communications networks whose rates and service terms are closely regulated under traditional public utility principles. In Mr. Turner's world, with government-owned broadband networks, there would be no need to worry about profits because we don't expect governments to turn a profit. Quite the contrary – deficits and debt are what we expect and what we get.
And with broadband providers regulated as public utilities, Mr. Turner would look to regulators to prevent what he calls "price gouging." I understand that Mr. Turner always prefers a lower price to a higher one. But the only way to determine a "reasonable" price – even though Mr. Turner nevertheless might never agree it is not a "gouging" price – is to conduct full-blown rate cases. Having lived through many of them back in the Ma Bell era of the 70s and 80s, I am absolutely certain that, in today's competitive marketplace, we don't want to turn the clock back to those drawn-out, usually inconclusive affairs.  
Mr. Turner's preference for a world without profits or prices is one way to go – but it is completely the wrong way. Indeed, it was tried in the Soviet Union for seventy years with disastrous results before being abandoned.
There is no dispute that in the past five years, private sector broadband providers have invested over $300 billion in private capital to build-out and upgrade high-speed broadband networks that now provide access to over 95% of the nation's households. And, there is no dispute that, even so, with Internet usage continuing to explode, and especially for wireless, there will be a continuing need to invest at least $30-$40 billion per year to expand and upgrade capacity-constrained broadband networks in order to meet consumer demand and expectations.
The notion that the private sector will continue to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in broadband networks, as it has over the past decade, without the prospect of profits, however Mr. Turner chooses to characterize them, is fanciful.
And the notion that broadband providers, in a competitive market, should not be allowed to employ price signals so consumers can avail themselves of choices is fanciful too. Indeed, in the context of today's broadband marketplace, it is downright mischievous. For what "all you can eat" pricing means in this context is that either low-volume users will be required to subsidize the usage of high-volume users, which raises equity issues. Or that all – repeat, all -- users will be required to pay more for the build-out of additional network capacity than they otherwise would absent the adoption of usage-based pricing. It is either/or.
In other words, usage-based plans, by giving consumers choices related to pricing signals, promote both fairness and efficiency.
Neither FTC Chairman Leibowitz nor FCC Chairman Genachowski, both Obama Administration picks, can possibly be characterized as corporate stooges or anti-regulation. I certainly don't always agree with them. Indeed, I think often they are too quick to look to impose new regulations. But I am happy to come to their defense when they take positions that are consistent with enhancing overall consumer welfare.      
That is manifestly the case here – and I happily rise in their defense. 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Calling for a Moratorium on New Discriminatory Wireless Taxes

In our troubled economy it makes little sense to bog down the most vibrant, innovative, and investment-heavy markets with special tax burdens. Onerous and unequal tax burdens penalize growth markets that are best positioned to bring about overall economic prosperity. Unfortunately, discriminatory taxation has been our policy for the last several years when it comes to wireless.

Legislation now working its way through Congress, however, would put a temporary halt on wireless discriminatory tax trends. And it would turn the spotlight onto state and local governments that are responsible for targeting wireless consumers with extra tax burdens. The legislation's proposed federal moratorium on new discriminatory wireless taxes could be just the thing to motivate state and local government reforms that will put wireless services in a position of tax parity.

In a February blog post I discussed a State Tax Notes report by Scott Mackey that concluded "[w]ireless users now face a combined federal, state, and local tax and fee burden of 16.3 percent, a rate two times higher than the average retail sales tax rate and the highest wireless rate since 2005." Significant blame can be placed on rising federal universal service fund (USF) surcharges. But state and local governments single out wireless consumers by sticking them with disproportionately heavy taxes.

When all respective state taxes on wireless are combined with their respective statewide average for local wireless taxes, the numbers show that 47 states subject wireless to tax rates that are higher than their combined average sales tax rates. As of July, 2010, the three worst offenders were: (1) Nebraska, whose state and local tax rates on wireless of 18.64% compared to a state and local sales tax rate of only 7%; (2) Washington State, with a wireless state and local tax rate of 17.95% compared to a 9% sales tax rate; and (3) New York, with a with a wireless state and local tax rate of 17.78% compared to an 8.25% sales tax rate.

This trend of discriminatory tax treatment of wireless services must stop.

On July 29, the House Judiciary Committee reported out H.R. 1002 – the "Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011." The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren. A Senate companion, S.543, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, was also introduced earlier this year and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

H.R. 1002 would put in place a 5-year freeze on new discriminatory state and local taxes on wireless services. The core of the bill, as reported out of the House Judiciary Committee, provides:

No State or local jurisdiction shall impose a new discriminatory tax on or with respect to mobile services, mobile service providers, or mobile service property, during the 5-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.

As the legislation makes clear, a "new discriminatory tax" is defined as a tax imposed by a state or local jurisdiction on a mobile service that "is not generally imposed, or is generally imposed at a lower rate" than is generally imposed on: (A) other services or transactions involving tangible personal property; (B) other persons that are engaged in businesses other than mobile services; or (C) other property devoted to commercial or industrial use and subject to a property tax levy. And H.R. 1002 grandfathers in all discriminatory wireless taxes already in force at the state and local level as of the day the bill is enacted.

Obviously, running a government requires a steady source of revenue to fund its basic operations. This is true for state and local governments no less than for the federal government. Accordingly, Congress can't trample the taxing power of the states without violating the basic structure of constitutional federalism. And the ability of local governments to levy taxes likewise depends on delegations of state taxing power provided by their respective state constitutions or legislatures. H.R. 1002 is therefore written with careful attention to constitutional concerns and the preservation of state taxing power.

H.R. 1002 would not interfere with states' ability to lower or raise general purpose taxes that include wireless services, such as general state and local sales taxes. Nor would the bill interfere with the ability of state and local governments to assess and collect fees "imposed on a particular entity or class of entities for a specific privilege, service, or benefit." It likewise excludes federal and state USF charges as well as fees "specifically dedicated by a State or local jurisdiction for the support of E–911 communications systems."

A July 13 letter by a half-dozen local government lobbying organizations opposing H.R. 1002 contends that the bill takes away state and local governments' ability "to tax the wireless industry – at the expense of other taxpayers and businesses," thereby "mandating that state and local governments provide favorable treatment to the wireless industry."

But this is a disingenuous, over-simplistic mischaracterization of H.R. 1002. As the legislation specifies, existing wireless-discriminating taxes would remain in effect. And the bill would not interfere with the ability of state and local governments to raise or lower general purpose taxes, or to assess fees and charges. (As a prior blog post pointed out, the CBO review of the bill – also cited in the House Committee's Report – indicates that H.R. 1002 won't impose any direct costs on state or local governments.)

The point of H.R. 1002 isn't to provide wireless with preferential tax treatment – it doesn't – but to provide a remedy to an ongoing pattern of discriminatory tax treatment. The bill puts a halt on further abuses. And it imposes a time-out for state and local governments, calling their attention to the problem and giving them opportunity adopt their own measures for putting wireless taxation on stable and equitable footing. H.R. 1002 expressly provides that during the 5-year freeze period the bill's restrictions will not apply to states and local tax reforms that subject wireless services to general purpose taxes — even when those general purpose tax rates are simultaneously raised.

In addition to the basic tax principles at stake, there are other policy and economic considerations that favor a moratorium on new discriminatory wireless taxes. For instance, as the House Judiciary Committee Report for H.R. 1002 points out, taxes depriving the wireless industry of capital that could otherwise be invested in infrastructure hinders the goals of universal access and expanding economic opportunity envisioned by the President's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative.

Also, "tax policies that discourage wireless use also negatively affect secondary markets for smartphone applications, wireless based Internet service, and digital goods and services delivered over telecommunications networks." The market for mobile applications, in particular, has been a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish economy. According the FCC's latest Wireless Competition Report, "both the number of mobile applications launched and the number of applications downloaded by consumers has grown significantly over the past three years," and that "by the end of 2009, U.S. consumers had access to more than 130,000 applications, a number that has grown to well over 300,000 today and continues to grow daily." But subjecting wireless to even more discriminatory taxes could impede the progress and potential economic benefits of this important and growing market segment.

Ideal tax policy includes broad-based taxes that treat all goods and services equally and at low rates, without exceptions or carve-outs. Realistically, even if Congress adopts a moratorium on new discriminatory wireless taxes, reforming state and local taxes on wireless by bringing them under streamlined, broad-based, low-rate taxes would not be easy. Even with a federal moratorium, state and local governments would still have to do their part. But by focusing national and local attention on the problem that now exists, H.R. 1002 would give us a shot at turning the corner on wireless tax discrimination and rolling back some of the worst abuses at the state and local level.

That is a shot worth taking.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Consent of the Governed as a Protection against Government-Owned Broadband Debt

Negotiations over the federal government's debt ceiling bring to mind some recent experiences of local governments facing financial shortfalls on account of overpriced and undersubscribed municipal broadband projects. In an October blog post I described a plan being considered by several Utah cities to issue $60 million in new bonds just to cover the existing debts of their muni broadband project called "UTOPIA" and keep the project afloat. And in a January blog post I wrote about two North Carolina towns that shelled out nearly $580,000 to provide a temporary bailout for their muni broadband project, MI-Connection.

When muni broadband projects fail, the fall guys aren't the paid consultants who pitch the projects or local government officials who buy the pitches. Rather, the real fall guys are local residents who bear the losses through budget cuts to other local government services and through local tax hikes.

As I pointed out in January, "one thing responsible cities and towns should do in the year ahead is keep from making their financial problems worse by engaging in expensive and risky new ventures."

This spring, the North Carolina legislature took steps of its own to better ensure responsible action by cities and towns considering new muni broadband projects. The North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 129 into law in May. HB 129 includes a number of limitations and safeguards on muni broadband projects and how they can operate. In particular, HB 129 requires a public vote of approval by local residents before their local government can assume debts for financing on any muni broadband project:

A city shall not incur debt for the purpose of constructing a communications system without first holding a special election … on the question of whether the city may provide communications service. If a majority of the votes cast in the special election are for the city providing communications service, the city may incur the debt for the service. If a majority of the votes cast in the special election are against the city providing communications service, the city shall not incur the debt.

Broadband networks are expensive and risky undertakings, particularly in our current economic climate. Given the deep financial liabilities saddled on local residents when muni broadband projects go bad, adding an extra layer of taxpayer protection from financial peril by requiring the consent of the people is a commonsense idea.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wireless - No New Taxes!

Communications Daily reports that the CBO issued a report yesterday to the effect that passage of the Wireless Tax Fairness Act wouldn't cost state or local governments any lost revenue. The bill would impose a five year moratorium on new state and local taxes on wireless services, which are already overburdened with these levies.

CBO said no there would be no cost because no state or local governments plan to impose such taxes.

Whatever. There is no sound rationale for imposing new taxes on wireless. There is a rationale for reducing them -- at least to bring them in line with sales taxes imposed on other goods and services.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Good luck Gig.U Project

Blair Levin has launched an exciting new venture called the Gig.U project. In short, Gig.U, or the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, is a broad-based group of almost 30 leading research universities -- including my alma mater, Duke -- from across the nation. The idea of the project is for the research universities, and the communities in which they are situated, to serve as bases for the deployment of ultra high-speed broadband networks. Then, with the universities' rich in-place intellectual capital using the super high-speed networks, the hope is that a whole new generation of innovations will be spurred.

You can read all about the new project here.

All in all, it looks like a very worthwhile venture, one that, if successful, could bring many benefits, not only to the university communities involved but to the nation at large.

So, I commend Blair not only for the innovative idea, but for the energy required to accomplish the practicalities necessary get the idea off the ground to the launch phase.

PS -- His only mistake: He let Carolina in on the project too....Should have been Duke in, Carolina out.

Red Tape Rising at a Rising Rate

On July 25, James Gattuso and Diane Katz at Heritage Foundation released the latest iteration of their overview of increasing federal regulatory mandates. "Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report on Regulation" spotlights the continuing growth of federal bureaucratic rules and their corresponding burden on the economy.

As Gattuso and Katz point out, regulatory costs aren't merely a business problem since "the costs of regulation are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and limited product choices." Moreover, "[u]nlike the budgetary accounting of direct tax revenues, Washington does not track the total burdens imposed by its expensive rulemaking."

But even a glimpse at the first half of fiscal year 2011 is enough to give one a sense of the problematic growth of new regulatory burdens. Relying on Government Accountability Office numbers, Gattuso and Katz observe that over 1,800 rulemakings were completed in the first half of FY 2011. Thirty-seven of those rulemakings were classified as "significant/substantial" or "major," meaning they had an expected economic impact of $100 million per year. And fifteen of those thirty-seven impose new mandates or limits on private-sector activity. According to Gattuso and Katz, "[t]he annual costs of the 15 new major regulations total more than $5.8 billion and impose nearly $6.5 billion in one-time implementation costs. And just as significant is the fact that "[n]o major rulemaking actions decreased regulatory burdens during the first half of fiscal 2011."

The problem is worse than new regulatory burdens, however. Gattuso and Katz make the point that the rate at which regulatory burdens are growing is itself increasing. As Gattuso and Katz go on to describe new regulations currently in the works:

The spring 2011 Unified Agenda…lists 2,785 rules (proposed and final) in the pipeline. Of those, 144 were classified as 'economically significant.' With each of the 144 pending major rules expected to cost at least $100 million annually, they represent at least $14 billion in new burdens each year.

This is an increase of 15.2 percent in the number of economically significant rules in the agenda between spring 2010 and spring 2011. Moreover, in the past decade, the number of rules has increased a whopping 102 percent, rising from 71 to 144 since 2001.

Policymakers considering even more regulatory mandates would do well to consider this backdrop of regulatory burdens and the already increasing regulatory burden rate. Reversing the trend of increasing regulatory burdens means not only reducing the rate at which we adopt new rules, but also undertaking new rulemakings that eliminate older rules and reduce the overall regulatory burden.