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I suppose that Americans, at least those who like to keep their money, are happy with their new ten-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut. Nowhere near as large as it could have been but bigger than the Democrats wanted, Americans can nonetheless take comfort in the fact that they will have more money in their pockets.

Or will they?

Reg RadarAs was pointed out elsewhere in this journal, just because you cut taxes doesn't mean that the Leviathan has stopped spending your money. The money in question is the cost of regulation, calculated to be over $950 billion. Feel free to read that number again and remember the tab for these hidden taxes is yours. Remember, a mandated cost by government -- whether it the requirement to purchase a fishing license or the imposition of "energy efficiency standards" for dryers -- is a tax. Keeping track of these regulations and the constant stream of new ones is nearly impossible for anyone not wholly dedicated to the task. Maybe that's the point.

At this point, in steps the Mercatus Center's web site RegRadar, which admirably tries to keep up with that flood and analyses their impact on the public. Based at George Mason University, the center and web site bills themselves as "a central meeting place where academics, policy-makers, interest groups, businesses, and concerned citizens can access, easy-to-understand information about new and forthcoming regulations." Visitors to the web site can share information with their peers and learn about new and coming regulations.

So will regulatory life under a Bush Administration be any different? It's too early to say at this point but at least Americans have RegRadar and Mercatus Center to keep track for them. Maybe you should send some of that income tax rebate to them to thank them for telling you of the billions you are being forced to spend without even knowing it. It's not like the federal government forces itself to tell you its true cost to you. That would be one regulation everyone could support.




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