Two George Mason University researchers looking into the cost of government regulations on American business conclude that the total burden amounts to a 1.6 percent excise tax on the “typical manufacturer.” Another way of framing the cost is in terms of dollars, which they say amounts to $1,700 per employee.

The researchers, W. Mark Crain and Joseph M. Johnson, concentrated their study solely on American manufaturing and used data from the year 2000, so we’re almost ten years removed from their benchmark. Still, it’s interesting to see that government regulations do carry a price tag, though many would argue that most regulations are virtually cost neutral and, if not, result in an overall gain for the company, the employees and the American workplace in general.

I’m not here to argue for or against government regulations in general, but I’m not of the mindset of “the more, the merrier.” I think there comes a point for each business when it says, “Enough is enough,” and decides to do things differently. You know, outsource, ship manufacturing overseas, lay people off to save costs, and all those nasty little things that somehow get blamed on NAFTA by certain sectors of the body politic.

Keep this in mind as the new administration and heavily Democratic Congress contemplate a wide expansion of labor law rights and protections.