Neo-liberals and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

Written by: A. Allan Schmid

Primary Source: The Troublesome Economist

Cass Sunstein was appointed head of OIRA from 2009-2012 and led it to delay and eviscerate a host of environmental regulations.  Pres. Reagan created the office ostensibly to improve decision making by insisting on benefit-cost analysis of all rules, but industry used it to escape and delay regulation.  An example of its over-reaching and bizarre twists is to count lost pleasure from smoking as an off-set to health benefits of reduced smoking.  Besides, early death saves health care costs over the smokers’ lifetime they claim! All of this is justified by the neo-liberal championing of what they call liberty-enhancement. If some want to kill themselves, they should be free to do so.  This is a neat trick that diverts blame from systemic corporate malfeasance to individuals.

This is documented in Robert Kuttner, “Obama’s Obama” Harpers, December 2014.” A must read by those interested in good government and avoidance of the siren song and paternalism of the neo-liberals. Obama does not come off well. Sunstein and Obama prove once again that smart and wise are not the same thing.

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A. Allan Schmid
Alfred Allan Schmid, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Taught at MSU for 47 years in the Dept. of Agricultural, Food, Resource Economics. In addition to scholarly books, he more recently published a historical novel entitled "The Quest for Land and Fortune."
A. Allan Schmid

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