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.