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regulatory innovation

October 16, 2017

Americans agree: there is too much red tape

A new Gallup poll found that for the 12th year running, a plurality of Americans think job creators face excessive government regulation.  The survey asked respondents across all 50 states whether they thought there was “too much” “too little” or “the right amount” of regulation on American business and industry.  Nearly twice as many Americans (45%) think that there is too much red tape, as those who believe there is not enough (23%).

The results are hardly surprising, given that some estimates put the price tag of government regulations at $4 trillion since 1980.  Small businesses are hit particularly hard, paying an average of $11,700 per employee each year in regulatory costs—bad news for the nearly 50 percent of Americans employed by these businesses.

These costs also hit Americans across the economic spectrum, since regulations often acts as a regressive tax, increasing the costs of basic essentials that low income families spend a greater proportion of their income on. As a result, costs of regulation as a share of income are estimated to be six to eight times higher for low-income households than for high-income ones.

The percentage of Americans who feel that regulations are excessive peaked in 2011, after the Obama Administration introduced major new regulations and financial industry rules like the Dodd-Frank Act and continued to release new rules at a nearly unprecedented pace of 2,353 during 2015 alone.

Concern for excessive regulation crosses party lines – and includes 20% of Democrats surveyed and nearly 70% of Republicans.