Moving Forward with Regulatory Lookback

Editor’s Note:  The insightful and valuable article below on retrospective regulatory review analysis makes a statement which requires clarification.  Specifically, the regulatory review function in the 1970s was far from “ad hoc and largely unmanaged.” To the contrary, as the history of pre-OIRA regulatory review explained, the Quality of Life Review (QLR) regulatory review process under President Nixon,

SBA Study of the Cost of Federal Regulation

Editor’s Note:  If the author of the article below had good cause to think that SBA/Advocacy’s landmark study on the costs of federal regulation was lacking in accuracy, objectivity, utility and/or integrity, he could have used the Data Quality Act’s Request for Correction process to seek and obtain any justified changes.  Since the author has declined to use the Congressionally-enacted mechanism for seeking correction of quality-deficient federal information disseminations, readers can only conclude that Mr. Mandelbaum’s objections are to the study’s conclusions, not with how the study was performed.

Questions on a Study of the Cost of Federal Regulation


The Uneven Regulatory Burden

From: National Review Online

By Reihan Salam

Peter Suderman points us to a new report from the American Action Forum on the cost of the regulations imposed by the Obama administration:

In 2012, Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs administrator touted another executive order intended to “eliminate unjustified regulatory costs and to reduce burdens” through international regulatory coordination.

Here’s what that looks like in practice: Last year, Sunstein’s office wiped $2.5 billion in regulations from agency books. And the administration added $236 billion in new regulations.

Sam Batkins summarizes one of the AAF report’s more disturbing findings:

The Costs and Benefits of Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis

From: Compliance Week

Joseph McCafferty

The Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal agencies are between Scylla and Charybdis—the original rock and a hard place of Greek mythology—when it comes to performing required cost-benefit analyses for the Dodd-Frank Act rules they are in charge of writing.

Conduct too little analysis and the agencies leave themselves open to second-guessing by industry associations and corporate lobby groups, which can then challenge the rules on the basis of inadequate cost reviews and get them stricken from the books. That’s exactly what happened to the proxy access rule that ended up getting tossed aside after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others launched a legal challenge. (More on that and other challenges to rulemaking in a moment.)

Regulating in the Dark: Examining Bush Midnight Regulations

Editor’s Note:  A pdf of the complete Working Paper “Regulating in the Dark: Examining Bush Midnight Regulations” is attached here.

From: Mercatus Center/George Mason University

by Sherzod Abdukadirov

Conventional wisdom holds that presidents’ powers quickly evaporate the moment they are voted out of office.[1] Members of Congress and even career executives within federal agencies have little reason to heed a lame-duck president’s advice or fear retaliation. Consequently, a lame-duck president’s ability to push legislation through Congress or enact political priorities greatly diminishes. This view, however, underestimates the arsenal of political tools at the president’s disposal. In the absence of congressional cooperation, outgoing administrations turn to executive orders, memoranda, and regulations to pursue their political priorities. Research indicates that they make extensive use of their arsenal to promote a favored political agenda.

Economic Analysis by Federal Financial Regulators

Editor’s Note: The complete Working Paper, Economic Analysis by Federal Financial Regulators, is attached here.

From: Mercatus Center/George Mason University

By Hester Peirce

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”)[1] gave U.S. financial regulators a long list of regulations to write. Despite the sweeping nature of the Dodd-Frank changes, Dodd-Frank does not generally require regulators to conduct economic analysis.[2] Further, most of the regulators charged with implementing Dodd-Frank are not subject to the standard regulatory analysis requirements for government rulemaking. Economic analysis can play a valuable role in assisting regulators in deciding whether and how to regulate, but very few financial regulators take advantage of this tool of their own volition.

Historical Perspective and Better Regulatory Governance: An Agenda for Institutional Reform

Editor’s Note:  The paper, “Historical Perspective and Better Regulatory Governance: An Agenda for Institutional Reform” is attached here.

It should be noted that CRE has devoted a significant amount of resources on maintaining the most complete history of centralized regulatory review available at any location.

The website is  TheOMB.US  and is visited constantly by legal scholars.




From: The Rethinking Regulation Paper Series organized by the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University

By Edward Balleisen, Associate Professor of History, Duke University, and Elizabeth Brake, Candidate, History Department, Duke University

BRT Letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and Office of Management and Budget

Editor’s Note:  The signed pdf of the Business Roundtable (BRT) letter to OIRA may be found here.

From: Business Roundtable

Re: Advise the Advisor-Streamlining Federal Regulations to Help Businesses and Individuals

In response to the July 18, 2012 invitation to submit ideas for streamlining federal regulations, Business Roundtable (BRT) respectfully submits these comments.

Revitalization of DOE’s Role as a Regulatory Watchdog

DOE’s enabling statutes give it ample authority to intervene in the regulatory programs of other agencies.  These interventionist authorities are to be used when other federal agencies propose regulations which curtail the attainment of the nation’s energy goals.

Unfortunately these  DOE regulatory authorities have remained dormant for years.  DOE is in the process of implementing a program to examine its  existing regulations and at the same time to initiate process changes which will  make its programs more responsive to the needs of the public.

In response to a request for public comment CRE has provided DOE with these recommendations.

A Poster Child for Regulation by Litigation Run Amok: The BLM Oil Shale Program

Do you want to have a major impact on US energy policy?  Simply have an NGO,  acting in the “public interest”,  sue the USG government  and obtain a settlement which is not subject to the procedural safeguards of the Administrative Procedure Act  nor OMB review under Executive Order 12886.

CRE finds it  incomprehensible that oil shale offers the United States the potential to extract over 1.5 trillion barrels of oil, an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves, yet BLM has drastically shifted its policy position to one  which will prohibit the development of this vital resource.. This is especially troubling in that the 2008 PEIS BLM specifically outlined two additional steps of environmental analysis that would need to be completed before any oil could be commercially extracted.  CRE recommends the following: