Cost-Benefit Analysis: The Stunning Triumph of a Flawed Tool

Last Thursday, Cass Sunstein, the former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), argued that “cost-benefit analysis has become part of the informal constitution of the U.S. regulatory state” and that this represents a “stunning triumph.”  While it’s true that cost-benefit analyses are being applied to rulemaking across an array of laws and programs, we believe that this represents the triumph of a flawed analytic tool and is not a triumph for American citizens. It is simply not appropriate to apply cost-benefit analysis to many aspects of policymaking, and the results from such analyses should not be the final determinant of the value of many proposed standards or safeguards.

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New OMB Watch Article Explores Perils of Senate Anti-Regulatory Bill

OMB Watch is out with a new article today that explores the risks posed by another anti-regulatory bill in the Senate, known as the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act. Though the legislation would impact everything from the safety of children's toys to Americans' financial security, it may be fast-tracked to a committee vote later this month – without a hearing.

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How Many More Food Recalls Will It Take to End Delay on New Food Safety Rules?

On Aug. 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms in Indiana are being recalled because of Salmonella contamination, which has infected 178 people in 21 states, causing 62 hospitalizations and 2 deaths.

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Sunstein’s Legacy: Retrospective Reviews = An Unjustified Burden on Regulatory Agencies

No one is in favor of outmoded, ineffective, duplicative, or unnecessary regulation. But judgments about what rules are necessary or effective are in the eye of the beholder: the same rules that save the lives of consumers and workers may be viewed as burdensome by the firms that have to follow them.

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Updated: House Majority Trying to Shut Down Safeguards – Again

The highlight of next week's legislative calendar in the House is likely to be a vote on H.R. 4078, the misleadingly named "Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act." With this vote, the House majority is set to launch yet another attack to shut down the safeguards that protect Americans against health, safety, and economic disasters.

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National Transportation Safety Board: Pipeline Regulations Need Teeth

On July 10, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its report on the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill in Michigan. The report is a scathing indictment of Enbridge Energy, the company responsible for the safety of the pipeline involved in the spill, but also blames inadequate federal regulation.

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The Land of the Free and the Home of Overdue Food Safety Rules

The 390 Americans who recently got sick from Salmonella in seafood probably missed out on yesterday's holiday celebrations. But they weren't the only ones who weren't celebrating: food safety advocates were also bemoaning yet another missed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) deadline.

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Why "Obamacare" Supporters Need to Care about the Health of the Regulatory System

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in “the health care case” (National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius).  In short, the majority ruled that the mandate is a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to tax and that financial incentives can be used to encourage states to expand Medicaid eligibility.

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Farming Out the Story on EPA Regulations

The "Farm Bill" (S. 3240, formally titled the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012) is fast becoming a magnet for a batch of anti-regulatory amendments. This is just the latest in a series of attempts to tack on damaging, unrelated provisions to legislation moving through the chamber.

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The Chamber’s Phony Debate about Regulation

In case you missed it: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business critics of regulation assert that there has been a “regulatory tsunami” during the past few years. A recent editorial by The New York Times exposed this false claim and showed that many important rules remain stuck in the pipeline.

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