Lots of BB&T in the news last week, so let’s keep it going with this piece from former CEO John Allison, now president and CEO of the Cato Institute:

The ever-growing thicket of regulations businesses must contend with is a hidden tax that is stifling economic growth. Washington’s bureaucratic machine costs the American economy somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.75 trillion each year according to a recent study commissioned by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. That is more than the federal government takes in corporate and individual income taxes combined.

Along with the billions spent on stimulus programs have come hundreds of new regulations that make it harder for businesses to grow and propel economic recovery. As one hand gives, the other takes away; and recently, it’s taking a lot more. The trouble with regulation is that more is added every year, but very few government mandates are ever repealed. The combined weight of all the rules that have accumulated are crushing the economy—a death by a thousand cuts.

Allison adds that excessive regulation hits small businesses harder, considering the fact that they “cannot afford the legal and consultant teams used by big businesses to navigate complex regulations.”