Former University of Chicago Law School professor Cass Sunstein found the perfect home in the Obama administration, as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a job that has kept him mainly below the radar.
On Monday, Sunstein's efforts to streamline government brought us an Obama Executive Order "asking the independent regulatory agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to take new steps to ensure smart, cost-effective regulations, designed to promote economic growth and job creation."
Obama is using his bully pulpit, channeled through Sunstein, to get the independent agencies to cut red tape and (this may be in the mind of the beholder) regulations that are a pain in the butt and don't have a useful purpose.
Said Sunstein in a Monday conference call:
"So what's happened today is basically two things. First, the
president has said that the independent agencies should follow the key
principles in the January executive order, that is, principles
involving public participation, simplification and harmonization of
rules, promoting flexibility and freedom of choice and respect for
objective science, and probably more noteworthy in the immediate term,
he has asked them within 120 days to come up with plans for looking
back at their rules and to expose them to public scrutiny to try to
make sure that they are as ambitious and meaningful as possible.
"We think that this step today will be a positive step toward
promoting economic growth and job creation because the process of
rethinking rules that can be streamlined or eliminated in some cases
frees up money and allows businesses, and particularly small
businesses, to do what they do best, which is to grow, promote
economic development and hire people."
The Executive Order....
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 11, 2011
July 11, 2011
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF INDEPENDENT REGULATORY AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies
America's free market is the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. It is the key to our global leadership and the success of our people. But throughout our history, one of the reasons it has worked is that we have sought a proper balance -- a balance that promotes economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation, while protecting the health, safety, and security of the American people.
Over the past two and a half years, the pursuit of that balance has guided my Administration's approach to rules and regulations. And in January of this year, I signed an Executive Order requiring executive agencies to reduce regulations that place unnecessary burdens on American businesses and the American people while ensuring that regulations protect our safety, health, and environment. I initiated a careful, Government-wide review of regulations already on the books in order to reduce outdated, unjustified regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. We are taking immediate steps to eliminate millions of hours in annual paperwork burdens for large and small businesses and save more than $1 billion in annual regulatory costs. And hundreds of reform proposals from 30 agencies, now available for public scrutiny, promise to deliver billions of dollars in additional savings.
The Executive Order also requires executive agencies to consider costs and benefits and to reduce burdens on the American people; to expand opportunities for public participation; to simplify and harmonize rules; and to promote flexibility and freedom of choice.
With full respect for the independence of your agencies, I am asking you today to join in this review and produce your own plans to reassess and streamline regulations. For rules going forward, I am also asking you to follow the key cost-saving, burden-reducing principles outlined in the January Executive Order.
I hope you see this as an opportunity to do something big and lasting -- to change the ways of Washington; to focus on what works; and to forge a 21st-century regulatory system that makes our economy stronger and more competitive, while we meet our fundamental responsibilities to one another.
I look forward to working with all of you on this important initiative, and I thank you for your attention and service to our country.
# # #