Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Obama appointment I can support

Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar" is Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School. Wonk Room How would progressives respond if President Bush nominated as “regulatory czar” a person who:
– Once called for changing the Clean Air Act to require a balancing of costs and benefits in setting national clean air standards – a fundamental weakening long sought by big polluters who believe it would help them resist cleanup; – Urged the federal government to devalue senior citizens in calculating the benefits of federal regulations because “A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.” This is a concept dubbed the “senior death discount,” and that environmentalists forced EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman to renounce in 2003; – Argued that it “might be better” to help future generations deal with global warming by “including approaches that make posterity richer and better able to adapt” than by “reducing emissions.” – Even raised questions about the value of cleaning up Love Canal, reducing arsenic in drinking water and using child restraints in automobiles?
Progressives would’ve screamed, of course. But what will they do now that President-elect Obama appears poised to nominate Harvard Law School Professor Cass Sunstein to head the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)? For it’s actually Sunstein who has articulated the views noted above regarding clean air and the other issues involving costs, benefits and risk.

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