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Which Federal Agency Issued The Most Regulations In 2013?

Which federal agency issued the most regulations in 2013? The top five agencies issued a combined 1,451 rules, or 44% of the 3,305 total rules. With 428 rules, the Department of Treasury took the top spot followed by the Department of the Interior (353), Department of Commerce (250), Department of Transportation (220), and Department of Health and Human Services (200).

“A little surprisingly, for the second time, the Environmental Protection Agency does not appear in the top five (it is sixth). Including the EPA’s 179 rules brings the total to 1,953 rules, or 48 percent.”

DoD Misplaces $626 Million Dollars of Weaponry In Afghanistan

How exactly does one misplace $626 million dollars of weaponry and military equipment? Give it to the Department of Defense and ship it to Afghanistan. In what is now a seemingly endless line of reports from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), 747,000 weapons and auxiliary military equipment given to the Afghan National Security Forces are unaccounted for. 465,000 of these items are rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and shotguns – otherwise known as things to keep track of in an active war zone. The loss has only been compounded by poor record keeping practices and improper management of serial number data.

“The Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP) and the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database (OVERLORD), two systems used by the DoD to keep track of weapon shipments to Afghanistan, were found to have major errors and discrepancies. For example, 43 percent of serial numbers in the OVERLORD system had ‘missing information and/or duplication.’”

Inspector General Report Reveals That the Pentagon Overpays on Everything

According to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, the Pentagon overpays on almost everything they buy. The report highlights such things as helicopter parts which were overpaid for between 300% and 1,725%, and prescription drugs which were purchased at 60% more than what Medicaid paid. It is hardly shocking that an agency which has avoided being audited for over two decades is full of waste.

“Across the military, the average major Pentagon acquisition comes in at 40 percent over budget, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. In spite of the Pentagon’s well-documented history of profligacy, the Congress continues to enlarge its responsibilities.”

Last Week In Regulation

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, last week 74 new regulations were added to the Federal Register which places the current tally at 1,986 regulations on 43,539 pages. So far this year, 366 new rules will affect small businesses.

“The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.34 billion to $10.57 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.”

With Guns Drawn, Border Agents Strike Fear into the Hearts of Boy Scouts

On July 7, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents along the Alaska-Canada border detained a caravan of Boy Scouts from Iowa after one scout purportedly snapped a picture at a checkpoint. After ordering the scouts out of their vehicles, one agent – in an act of colossally poor judgment – reportedly pointed a loaded pistol at another scout’s head. The boys were eventually released without being arrested or harmed by the power-drunk government functionary. From The Washington Times:

“During the search, the troop leader said a different boy tried to grab a bag from the top of the van when one of the agents drew a gun on him. ‘He heard a snap of the holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing [it] at the young man’s head,’ Mr. Fox [the troop leader] said.”

Detroit Builds Light-Rail For Empty City

It has been called illogical, confusing, and a government boondoggle, but the light-rail track due to start construction in Detroit should be called far worse names. The $137 million, 3.3 mile long track will serve only a fraction of Detroit’s 139 square mile metropolitan area. It will operate in an area flush with parking and vacant stores, and will operate at a loss to taxpayers. None of this stopped the federal government from throwing $41 million in subsidies at the project because if there’s a project this misguided the federal government must be involved.

“Buses are also orders of magnitude cheaper to operate and maintain, which is why Detroit shut down its last street rail line in 1956, when the city’s population was almost three times its current size.”

$10 Million Incinerators Sat Unused As Trash Was Burned In Open-Air Pit

According to the Project on Government Oversight, a forward operating base in Afghanistan has again been found burning trash in open-air pits instead of incinerators. This marks the fourth time in 15 months that practices like this have been uncovered on U.S. military bases. Apart from the dangerous health risks to soldiers and staff on these bases, more than $10 million was  spent on the unused incinerators.

“The continued use of open-air burn pits pose[s] potential health risks for base personnel. Some possible health hazards associated with smoke emitted by burning waste include breathing particulate matter, lead, mercury, dioxins, and irritant gases. These substances can negatively affect organs and body systems, such as the adrenal glands, lungs, liver, and stomach.”

Last Week In Regulation

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, last week 100 new regulations were added to the Federal Register which places the current tally at 1,912 regulations on 42,130 pages. So far this year, 355 new rules will affect small businesses.

“The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $7.34 billion to $10.57 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.”

TSA Fee Increases Go into Effect

Given its disreputable track record of humiliating the elderly and bringing children to tears, few government agencies have a worse case for charging the public for its services than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). But it does, only now travelers will be expected to pay more. The supposed purpose of the fee hike is to reduce the deficit, providing a poignant example of how government, when denied the exorbitant budget it desires, ensures that the process of deficit reduction is as painful as possible. From the Los Angeles Times:

“The cost of a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, Fla., with no layovers would increase from $5 in TSA fees to $11.20 … If the flight has long layovers, travelers will pay more … [A] round trip from Los Angeles to Orlando, with stops of four hours or more in each direction, would incur fees of $5.60 for each leg, for a total of $22.40.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wasted $1.5 Billion On Flammable Buildings

According to the Washington Times, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent $1.57 billion on roughly 2,000 buildings in Afghanistan for Afghani military forces to use. However it appears that as many as 1,600 of the buildings aren’t built to code and the foam insulation used could be a significant fire hazard. The cost to fix all the buildings could be another $60 million.

“USACE Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre sent a memo in January saying it was ‘an acceptable risk level’ to turn the buildings over to the Afghan military because ‘the typical occupant populations for these facilities are young, fit Afghan soldiers and recruits who have the physical ability to make a hasty retreat during a developing situation.’”

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