There have been a number of news stories in the last few days about the results of the President’s regulatory reform efforts. The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Cass Sunstein, the director of the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The accomplishments discussed in those stories do not comport to what is happening at this agency. In response, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. Here is the letter that was published today:
I read with interest Cass Sunstein’s assertion that federal agencies are working to eliminate excessively burdensome regulations (“21st-Century Regulation: An Update on the President’s Reforms,” op-ed, May 26). As a commissioner at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), I can attest that no such activity is happening at this agency. We certainly have not combed through our regulations to eliminate those that are “out-of-date, unnecessary, [or] excessively burdensome,” as he suggests is being done across the government. Instead, we are regulating at an unprecedented pace and have pretty much abandoned any efforts to weigh societal benefits from regulations with the costs imposed on the public.
The CPSC is an independent regulatory agency and therefore, technically, it is not required to follow the president’s executive orders such as the one Mr. Sunstein refers to mandating a “cost-effective approach to regulation.” In past administrations, the agency has always followed the lead of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which Mr. Sunstein heads, in such matters. However, under this administration, we have ignored the recent direction to look for and eliminate burdensome regulations. We are just too busy putting out new regulations.
I have repeatedly requested that the agency do cost-benefit analysis on our various regulations only to have that request voted down by my fellow commissioners on a party-line basis. Consequently, we are issuing regulations without having done the necessary work to understand the impact of our actions both on those being regulated and on the public. As a result we have imposed regulatory burdens and caused people to lose their livelihoods without a real payback in terms of safety. At the CPSC, common sense regulation doesn’t even get a head-nod.
Nancy A. Nord
Consumer Product Safety Commission