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Costs, benefits of Cass Sunstein

n academic writings, Mr. Sunstein has advocated requiring agencies to demonstrate that new regulations' benefits clearly outweigh their costs, a policy long advocated by conservatives but viewed with suspicion by liberals who have seen it as a way to kill or weaken rules.

Mr. Sunstein said that relative to the Bush administration's heavy reliance on cost-benefit analysis, his approach would be "inclusive and humanized" and give more weight to moral concerns and other "soft variables."

But Mr. Sunstein also said he favors requiring agencies to explain why they are imposing rules that aren't justified by a cost-benefit analysis. And he said he would seek to maintain OIRA's central position in reviewing new regulations.

Created by Congress in 1980 as a central clearinghouse for new agency rules, OIRA has been criticized by consumer advocates for delaying or watering down regulations, particularly under Republican administrations. Some left-leaning groups, including OMB Watch and the Center for Progressive Reform, have raised concerns that OIRA might maintain that role under Mr. Sunstein.

MAY 13, 2009
Businesses Encouraged by Regulatory Nominee


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