Nearly fifty years ago Alan Schmid, a visiting professor working at the Office of the Secretary of the Army, made a game changing announcement to his colleagues in the Systems Analysis Group housed in the Pentagon. Schmid argued that the then use of benefit-cost analysis, which was applied to capital expenditure projects such as dams and waterways, should be extended to federal regulations. The systems analysts in attendance were dumbfounded by the idea of applying benefit-cost analysis to a pile of paper as well as to a pile of concrete. The Schmid announcement is in this compendium: Schmid PPB.
Washington, D.C., August 3, 2017 – The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) today announced the appointment of 13 new Public Members and 10 new Senior Fellows:
Re: Professor Chen article in the Administrative Law Review
Administrative law scholars when writing on centralized regulatory review often describe the state of affairs relative to a legal metric: usually the constitution, the APA or both. On the other hand Professor Chen utilizes a refreshing approach which bases her analysis on a comparison of two different groups capable of managing centralized regulatory review: White House personnel and experts in the executive branch agencies.
This article is an excellent example of the benefit of analyzing centralized regulatory review from the perspective of comparative administrative law. In particular the Professor concludes: “But President Obama channeled his executive actions through experts and agencies. President Trump has concentrated power in the White House and insulated executive power from agency expertise.”
Centralized regulatory review, whose most basic roots can be traced to actions taken by the Johnson Administration, has been controversial from its beginning. In the year 2017, nearly a half century from its inception, centralized regulatory review is not only controversial but may becoming more so as a result of the recent emphasis placed on it to implement Presidential policy by both the current and the former Administration.
The ensuing debate will be impacted in large part by the writings of the following three academic disciplines:
The American Political Science Association Call for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Problems: All Hat No Cattle?
The American Political Science Association (ASPA) issued an exemplary report on the need for an interdisciplinary approach to problems. Much to its credit, the National Science Foundation sponsored the report. The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) has been a stalwart in supporting NSF funding of political science studies in the darkest of times; see page thirty two of this post.
The Latent Need to Update Law School Curricula
Our national debt continues to grow unabated. Neither political party shows any interest in controlling it; in fact when they do they face ostracism. The sad state affairs is that members of Congress do in fact represent their constituents —too well.
Years ago, in 1984, in a book titled “A Season for Spoils”, its author Jonathan Lash wrote:
“Years before, Tozzi had decided that there might not be much more that could be done to control federal spending, but that a great deal could be done to curtail federal requirements that made industry spend. He embarked on a campaign to give OMB the same kind of control over agency regulations that it already had over their budgets.”
The Carter Administration initiated a number of precedent setting actions to control the size of the administrative state, see the Regulatory Reform Act of 1979. Among other things the Act requires regulatory analyses of major rules. Presidential Message on Regulatory Reform:
This bill strengthens the reforms introduced by E.O. 12044, makes them permanent, and applies them to the independent regulatory commissions. It also overhauls key parts of the Administrative Procedure Act, for the first time since 1946. It sets vital new rules for the regulators: