Management of the Administrative State

Historically three disciplines have studied the functioning of the administrative state: law, economics and political science/public administration.  Unfortunately none of the aforementioned disciplines have focused on the management of the administrative state.  By management of the administrative state we mean the processes which govern how decisions are made.

To date the management of the administrative state has been defined in large part by four actions: (1) the passage of the Administrative Procedure Act, (2) benefit-cost analysis, (3) centralized regulatory review and, (4) implementation of a regulatory budget.  These process changes have been controversial; they continue to be the subject of review by each of the aforementioned professions and have been augmented by the laudatory accomplishments of the current Administration.

802 Editions of the CRE Website Between October 2, 1999 and May 12, 2019

Fortunately the  Internet Archive Wayback Machine chose to store the content of the CRE website since its inception in 1999. Readers interested in the evolution of centralized regulatory review have a first hand seat at its historical event by scanning the pages dedicated to the preservation of the CRE website.

In particular consider the first entry on the October 2, 1999 edition of Internet Archive located on this  page  and routed to here which states:

CRE comments to OMB on its August 11, 1999 reproposal 
CRE submits comments on OMB’s proposed revisions to Circular A-110, in response to the Federal Register notice of August 11, 1999. READ ITEM

The Resurrection of the Congressional Review Act

Heretofore the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was a sleepy statute that was awakened periodically with the departure of an incumbent Administration to invalidate midnight regulations. Recent actions taken by two federal agencies acting independently of each other have converted the CRA into a 24/7 oversight mechanism.

First, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and has issued a directive to federal agencies requiring that all guidance documents be submitted to OMB before they are promulgated.

The Long Shadow of Grass Root Advocacy

Sometimes the smell of  burning of shoe letter, assisted by the use of social media, is more potent than peer reviewed science, principled economics and established law, see this post,

Two of the Most Contentious Rulemakings in Recent History

Apart from the establishment of centralized regulatory review in OMB, a regulatory initiative with a near twenty year incubation period followed by several nationwide initiatives resulting in the unfettered and widespread use of medical marijuana and related substances, there are two rulemakings which rank among of the most contentious in recent history.

The first rulemaking includes actions associated with addressing climate change.  A key obstacle to addressing climate change is the compliance cost associated with the resultant program. In particular it is very difficult to convince one nation to employ a climate change program if other nations who are often its international competitors do not make a similar commitment.  Just recently the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness has expressed its views on this matter, see this editorial in Inside EPA