Independence Day and the National Debt

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.”

Social Entrepreneurs and Management of the Regulatory State


Entrepreneurial Endeavors

The Evolution of Benefit-Cost Analysis into Federal Rulemaking

Lash Review ..

Revesz Livermore 2

Carter Administration Regulatory Proposal: Regulatory Reform Act of 1979

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:

When Congress Comes Calling

From: The Constitution Project

When Congress Comes Calling: A Study on the Principles, Practices, and Pragmatics of Legislative Inquiry

Morton Rosenberg

1. Introduction: Updating the Study of Legislative Inquiry and Adapting it to the Changed Climate of Congressional Oversight

[T]he proper office of a representative assembly is to watch and control the government; to throw the light of publicity on its acts to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them which any one considers questionable; to censure them if found condemnable, and, if the men who compose the government abuse their trust … to expel them, and either expressly or virtually appoint their successors. –John Stuart Mill

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.