Valuing Bureaucracy: The Case for Professional Government

Paul Verkuil, the former Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States and a nationally recognized legal academician, has written a book highlighting the invaluable contributions and ever increasing significance of career civil servants.

The author makes a fundamental point regarding infrastructure. Yes, he argues, that the nation’s physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are in need of repair but equally important is the need to rebuild the civil service infrastructure which delivers social security checks, Medicare, Medicaid, protection from terrorists and foreign enemies as well as clean air and clean water.

The Views of a Political Scientist on the Institutionalization of OIRA

Given the high priority accorded to controlling the size of the regulatory state by the Trump Administration the upcoming hearings on the nominee for the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is being accorded considerable attention by a range of interested stakeholders.

Although it is likely that the Senate hearings will focus on pending regulatory issues a more compelling line of inquiry is whether the new leader(s) of OIRA share a commonality with their predecessors concerning the need for the institutionalization of OIRA which  is dependent upon the exercise of neutral competence  as a basic pillar of its sustainability. If the aforementioned commonality exists it provides a basis for projecting the likely outcome of forthcoming decisions and a determination as to whether or not they will be in accord with former paradigms.

Two Different Views on the Preferred Background for The Administrator of OIRA

Editor’s Note: The views set forth below undoubtedly reflect the probable positions of the majority of the members who oversee the confirmation of the Administrator of OIRA. Notwithstanding the merits of the arguments presented therein we believe the social entrepreneurial skills of a nominee out rank all other considerations.  Recognizing that if one is to be successful in the regulatory space an individual must have a footing in an established discipline, how many of the game changing events that lead to the establishment of OIRA were dependent primarily on economic or legal skills? We are not convinced that the skills necessary to establish the most significant institutional feature of the regulatory state differ from those necessary to operate it on a sustainable basis.

One Set of Seven Gamechangers in the Regulatory State


Tozzi Resignation from OMB

Stockman Tozzi 2




Gaming the Giveth and Taketh of Government

This article categorizes all federal programs into two groups: spending programs (giveth) and mandates such as regulation and taxes (taketh).  The author surmises that it is possible to control the “taketh” programs but it is virtually impossible to control the “giveth” programs such as federal spending.

The aforementioned conclusion is in part  based upon a conjecture as to what  the application of differential game theory to the problem would yield.  The end result is that analysts who work on controlling “taketh” programs will probably have greater success than those working on “giveth” programs. The aforementioned solution might be regarded as a “second-best” solution but it is not all that bad since it is  estimated that annual federally mandated regulatory expenditures are, at a minimum,  approximately fifty percent of annual federal appropriated expenditures.

Midnight ICR’s

OIRA Midnight ICR

US News and World Reports Ranking of Law Schools

The ranking accorded to a school of law by US News is  one barometer of its capabilities. Historically, however, US News has not given explicit weight to the benefits accruing to law students who participate in  multidisciplinary programs taught  in other colleges at  the same university.

CRE has under consideration a recommendation to US News that for those law schools which offer  a joint program with a school of public affairs or related discipline  that the said  rankings for both  the  law school and the school of public affairs should be enhanced accordingly.

See draft  US News Transmittal

Historic OIRA Directive: Agencies, Use Domestic Regulatory Relief to Gain International Regulatory Relief

American regulations hobble American companies. Foreign regulations do the same thing. This is nothing new. Over thirty years ago, a senior OIRA official informed the President’s Regulatory Relief Task Force that

Many foreign governments are issuing a significant number of wide ranging regulations which result in unjustified expenditures on U.S. firms. Consequently the best of U.S, regulatory relief programs will not, by themselves, solve the problems created by foreign regulations. The regulations of foreign government often interfere with U.S, exports and the operation of multinational corporations by setting unreasonable product standards, limiting U.S. investment, requiring the use of local labor and materials and requiring that U.S. firms “offset” their sales by agreeing to export products produced by the foreign government.

Oral Histories of OIRA

OIRA and its predecessor organizations have a rich history spanning a time period of nearly five decades.

Noted scholars of the administrative state have concluded that not only is OIRA the cockpit of the regulatory state but it is the most significant institutional feature of the regulatory state.

For the above reasons scholars of the administrative state are in a continued search for background information which describes the creation and operation of OIRA. A repository of significant information can be developed through oral histories presented by individuals who were present at the creation of centralized review and eventually OIRA. Here is a list of some of the  histories compiled at this time; see  Oral Histories OIRA

OIRA’s Presidential Mandate to Implement a Regulatory Budget

After thirty seven years of analysis and debate the United States government is going to implement a regulatory budget as a result of a Presidential Executive Order [Sec. 3(d)] which will control the size of the regulatory state. OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget, has been assigned the aforementioned task.

An issue of immediate concern is that OIRA is in need of additional staff but the probability of receiving additional staff is questionable as a result of personnel ceilings on the Executive Office of the President as well a recent personnel freeze.