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  1. Remembering Ed Clarke: How Can We Know the Benefits of Public Decisions? [Download]

    Title: Remembering Ed Clarke: How Can We Know the Benefits of Public Decisions?
    Author: Mannix, Brian F.
    Description: Ed Clarke, who passed away last week, was the first EPA Desk Officer in OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs when it was created in 1981. From the beginning, the EPA desk was OIRA’s liveliest, always contending with the most controversial regulatory decisions. But Ed was a wise and affable presence, and a mentor to those who came after him. His long career took him to other agencies and other countries, but it was anchored at OMB. Sometimes, Ed’s colleagues or his management found him difficult to understand, but typically that was because Ed was thinking more deeply about things than was customary in Washington. Trying to understand him was well worth the effort, though. As an example, consider the Clarke Tax, Ed’s creative solution to the core problem of Benefit-Cost Analysis: how to discover the truth about the value of public goods.
    Keywords: Regulaliton, Commentaries, Regulatory studies, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  2. Renewable Fuels Mandates Harm the Environment, Consumers, and Taxpayers [Download]

    Title: Renewable Fuels Mandates Harm the Environment, Consumers, and Taxpayers
    Author: Dudley, Susan
    Description: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week issued the first in a series of white papers examining the renewable fuel standard (RFS) that was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and greatly expanded under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This bipartisan review is welcome. Fuel mandates and subsidies harm the environment, consumers, and taxpayers. They discourage innovation, and encouraging political rent-seeking, and Congress should eliminate them.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  3. Measuring Regulatory Activity: Pre- and Post-Shutdown [Download]

    Title: Measuring Regulatory Activity: Pre- and Post-Shutdown
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: Until it ended last week, the government shutdown had a visible effect on the regulatory activities of federal agencies. Due to the appropriations lapse, many agencies discontinued work they did not deem necessary to protect human life and property, which meant that most regulations underway were put on hold until agencies could again fund regulatory activities.
    Keywords: Regulation, Federal government, Commentaries, Regulatory policy, Regulatory studies, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  4. ACUS Moves Forward with Recommendations on the Use of Science in the Administrative Process [Download]

    Title: ACUS Moves Forward with Recommendations on the Use of Science in the Administrative Process
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: After working for nearly 2 years, the Administrative Conference of the United States is nearing completion of a set of recommendations aimed at improving the use of science in the administrative process. The ACUS Committee on Regulation met last week to discuss draft recommendations informed by a report prepared by a consultant, as well as three widely-attended conferences hosted in collaboration with ACUS and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the George Washington University (GW), and the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy (SBA), respectively, to which Committee members and the public were invited. The Committee tentatively agreed to focus the current set of recommendations on best practices and transparency of research.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  5. The Unintended Consequences of Revolving Door Laws [Download]

    Title: The Unintended Consequences of Revolving Door Laws
    Author: Law, Marc T.
    Description: Many states have revolving door regulations that restrict the private sector employment of former public sector employees. These regulations are often applied to government workers responsible for regulating industries such as utilities. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent government employees from providing favorable treatment to potential future employers (i.e. prevent regulators from being “captured” by potential future employers). Enforcing these regulations is costly, but if these laws ensure that public sector employees are focusing on the objectives of the public, then they may be warranted.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  6. Crises, Bootleggers, and Baptists in Regulation [Download]

    Title: Crises, Bootleggers, and Baptists in Regulation
    Author: Yandle, Bruce
    Description: The recent run up to the fiscal cliff and the looming sequester offer evidence that Washington politicians never want a serious crisis to go to waste, because crises provide opportunities to do things they otherwise couldn’t achieve. This “crisis rule” also serves as a useful accessory to a body of theory that seeks to explain the political economy of regulation. I first described the “Bootleggers & Baptists” theory of regulation in an article in Regulation magazine in 1983. The theory's name draws on colorful tales of states' efforts to regulate alcoholic beverages by banning Sunday sales at legal outlets. Baptists fervently endorsed such actions on moral grounds, while bootleggers tolerated the actions gleefully because their effect was to limit competition.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  7. DOE Relies on Private Benefits to Justify $3 Billion Energy Efficiency Rule [Download]

    Title: DOE Relies on Private Benefits to Justify $3 Billion Energy Efficiency Rule
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: According to DOE’s proposed rule, furnace fans achieving these energy efficiency levels “are already commercially available for at least some, if not most, product classes covered by this proposal.” That is, in many cases, consumers already have the option to purchase a higher-cost, higher-efficiency product. The fact that consumers are not already availing themselves of this option indicates that consumers either are uninformed about the costs savings associated with purchasing the higher-efficiency products or they do not value future energy savings as much as DOE thinks they should. Neither of these constraints would be addressed by the Department’s proposed rule, which would instead set a blanket efficiency standard applicable to all consumers, regardless of preferences.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Regulatory studies, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  8. Congressional Oversight: Police Controls or Fire Alarms? [Download]

    Title: Congressional Oversight: Police Controls or Fire Alarms?
    Author: Balla, Steve
    Description: What is the nature of congressional oversight of executive branch decision making? Do members of Congress oversee the work of federal agencies on a routine, ongoing basis? Or, alternatively, is congressional attention to the bureaucracy driven by disasters and other highprofile events? Arriving at an accurate sense of the balance between these two archetypes is crucial for gauging the accountability and performance of executive branch organizations operating in the American separation of powers system.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  9. The Affordable Care Act’s Effects on Existing Health Insurance [Download]

    Title: The Affordable Care Act’s Effects on Existing Health Insurance
    Author: King, Don
    Description: During debate leading to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act” - ACA), President Obama stated: “we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period.” However, recently, many people have received cancellation notices from their health plan or insurer, and some have found that available alternatives do not allow them to keep their physician. The Associated Press estimated on November 2 that at least 3.5 million Americans had received cancellation notices. Given the incentives embedded in the ACA, it was actually quite predictable that many Americans would lose their health insurance. The ACA requires health plans and insurers in the group and individual markets to provide an “essential health benefits” package, prohibits them from excluding persons based on preexisting conditions, and prohibits them from basing premiums on health status. While the ACA allows health insurance that was in effect when the ACA was enacted (March 23, 2010) to be “grandfathered,” both the statute and implementing regulations impose criteria for grandfathered status that are difficult to meet.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  10. What the Unified Agenda Tells Us About Notice and Comment Rulemaking [Download]

    Title: What the Unified Agenda Tells Us About Notice and Comment Rulemaking
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report finding that federal agencies published about 35 percent of the major rules issued between 2003 and 2010 without seeking public comment through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). As Susan Dudley explained in a policy commentary on GAO’s report, “This means that a significant percentage of new regulations expected to have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy are given the force of law without public input. GAO finds a sharp increase in the practice of issuing a final regulation without first seeking public comment in 2009, when 40 percent of all major final rules were issued without notice and comment, compared to 26 percent in 2008.” Unfortunately, a look at the recently-released Unified Agenda indicates that this trend may be continuing, and that agencies may continue to regulate without seeking public comment.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018