Most people know about the looming fiscal cliff, with big tax increases and spending cuts set to go into effect if the pols in Washington don't do something about it. It is possible that whatever the resolutions are that come out from the negotiations, there is also another area of concern that could adversely affect the economy, and it may not wait for the first of the year either. I refer to a regulatory cliff, in which the Obama administration releases a bunch of new regs that they've been sitting on for several months until the election is over. One assumes that if these changes were positive ones for the economy, there would be no reason to delay them; it appears to be obvious that they didn't want to debate the new rules and regs because too many people might not be too happy about it. So why should anyone think that a logjam of new regs are forthcoming? First of all, there is a document called the Unified Agenda kept by the White House Budget Office that is supposed to show new regs under development or consideration; there are federal laws and executive orders that require an updated Agenda every 6 months, but it hasn't been published since fall 2011. Ask yourself why. And this from the link below: " In an average year, about 650 significant regulations are reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is housed inside the Office of Management and Budget. Through Election Day, the Office had only reviewed 359, and at the time of this writing, that number had grown to only 373. " . " A large number of rules currently being reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs have been under review for much longer than normal. Executive Orders explicitly limit the Office's review time to a maximum of 90 days unless special extensions are granted. The average review time in the first three years of the Obama administration was 50 days, and since 2000, the average has been 54 days. So far this year, the average is 72 days, and will probably increase dramatically. Right now, 130 different rules have been sitting at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for more than 90 days, which is not normal. Typically, the Office gets its reviews done as quickly as possible so that the regulatory agencies can move along with their work. Now, the Office is sitting on a backlog of 130 rules, and could potentially push them out the door in a hurry if it wanted to. " So, what's going on? As the article says, maybe the WH is waiting for the economy to get a little stronger. Or they're not sure they'll have the funding to support the new programs that result from the changes. Or they're waiting to see how the fiscal cliff debacle is resolved. Doesn't sound like these guys, they bull ahead anyway. But the bigger issue is what will the impact be on an already fragile economy if Obama dumps a boatload of new rules and regs on us? Obama's Re-Election May Bring Flurry of Regulation - Economic Intelligence (usnews.com) This post is already getting too long, so I'll write followup posts on what could be coming and what it could cost.