Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sunstein: Both sides have it wrong on regs

Sunstein: Both sides have it wrong on regs
December 04, 2013, 05:35 pm
By Ben Goad
In the raging debate over the federal government’s rulemaking system, both sides have it wrong, President Obama’s former regulatory czar contends.

Cass Sunstein, in an op-ed published by Bloomberg, argues that dueling narratives offered by conservatives and liberals in Washington miss the mark.

“Both Republicans and Democrats – and industry and the public-interest groups -- have a great deal of confidence in evidence-free dogmas,” writes Sunstein, who spent three years as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

The little known office serves as gatekeeper for most of the most substantive federal rules drafted at agencies across government.

Congressional Republicans – backed by business groups and conservative think tanks – have waged an all-out assault on the administration’s regulatory policies, contending that an influx of new rules is heaping new expenses on the private sector.

They’ve pushed aggressively for new rules requiring agencies to more carefully consider the costs.

Democrats, along with public interest and progressive groups, counter that it is the benefits of health and safety protections that should be better reflected in rulemaking decisions.

The groups have accused the White House of dragging their feet on key health and safety protections.

Sunstein says neither argument is supported and points to research showing that agencies overestimate the costs of regulations about as often as the underestimate them (though the same research shows agency projections are only accurate about a quarter of the time).

“There is no basis for the business community’s claim that agencies systematically inflate benefits and low-ball costs,” Sunstein writes. “Nor is there reason to accept the progressive claim that agencies typically exaggerate costs and underestimate benefits.”

Cass Sunstein
Cass R. Sunstein was the chief regulatory officer for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and married to Samantha Power.

Note: Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Brookings Institution (think tank), the International Rescue Committee, the Harlem Children's Zone, and the Robin Hood Foundation.
George Soros is the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society, a board member for the International Crisis Group, and was a benefactor for the Harlem Children's Zone.
Samantha Power was a director at the International Rescue Committee, a board member for the International Crisis Group, is married to Cass R. Sunstein, and the United Nations U.S. ambassador for the Barack Obama administration.
Michael R. Bloomberg was a benefactor for the Harlem Children's Zone, a donor for the Robin Hood Foundation, is the New York (NY) mayor, and the founder of Bloomberg LP.
Bloomberg News is a division of Bloomberg LP.

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