We are a nation of lawyers and lawyers require laws, the more the merrier.
We also have lots of regulatory agencies, and that means they need to be creating regulations otherwise they are not doing their jobs and could be laid off.
The saving grace to all this is that none of this stuff is actually enforced very effectively if at all. So we are the "home of the free" because everyone is pretty much free to ignore whatever regulations and laws they want. The chances of us getting caught doing this are so slim as to make it totally worthwhile to ignore the regulations which are generally obstructive in nature and make it more difficult to do what you want to do.
We've been boarded by the USCG twice. While they were very nice and looked at a lot of stuff, mostly our paperwork, they didn't say a word about the required oil dump placard or the garbage placard or the CO2 placard or the fire extinguisher tags or any of this sort of thing. We happened to have all that but if we hadn't it wouldn't have made any difference.
So yes, we have a lot of regulations but they're mostly to give the people in the regulatory agencies something to do. A jobs program, if you will. If we actually had to obey them it could get annoying and obstructive. But since we don't, it's not a problem even though to someone outside the US all the regulations might appear to be intimidating.
So in my view it's much better to have 10,000 regulations, all of which you can ignore without penalty 99.999 percent of the time than to have 100 regulations that are equally annoying and obstructive but that are enforced all of the time.
In other words, we have the better deal.