Regulatory lookback gaining traction, says new OIRA head

From: Fierce Government

By Zach Rausnitz

The new head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs offered tentative praise for agencies’ efforts to review existing regulations during a House hearing July 24.

“I am satisfied that they are taking it seriously, but I want to be careful with the word ‘satisfied.’ I’m very  encouraged by the signs that I have seen,” Howard Shelanski told  the House Small Business Committee. Shelanski was confirmed as the new OIRA administrator on June 27, replacing Cass Sunstein.

Under an executive  order (.pdf) that President Obama issued in January 2011, agencies must  review regulations to find those that are duplicative, outdated or too costly.

Watch him pull a USDA-mandated rabbit disaster plan out of his hat

Editor’s Note: The press can be an influential regulatory review watchdog.

From: The Washington Post

By David A. Fahrenthold

In OZARK, Mo. — This summer, Marty the Magician got a letter from the U.S. government. It began with six ominous words: “Dear Members of Our Regulated Community . . .”Washington had questions about his rabbit. Again.

Marty Hahne, 54, does magic shows for kids in southern Missouri. For his big finale, he pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Or out of a picnic basket. Or out of a tiny library, if he’s doing his routine about reading being magical.

The National Rasin Reserve

From: The Washington Post

David A. Fahrenthold

One grower’s grapes of wrath

KERMAN, Calif. — In the world of dried fruit, America has no greater outlaw than Marvin Horne, 68.

Horne, a raisin farmer, has been breaking the law for 11 solid years. He now owes the U.S. government at least $650,000 in unpaid fines. And 1.2 million pounds of unpaid raisins, roughly equal to his entire harvest for four years.

So Did Nudging Work?

From: Slate

And would you know if you’ve been nudged?

By Graham Lawton

Cass Sunstein, nudge inventor and former White House official, explains how his nudges have helped Americans save for retirement and eat better. He co-wrote the best-selling 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness with Richard Thaler. His latest book Simpler: The Future of Government is about using behavioral science to transform government.

When you published Nudge in 2008, did you expect it to have so much influence? No. We were trying to write the best book we could. I was surprised and gratified that it got such attention.