Feb. 28, 2012 by Sidney Shapiro

What Does It Mean that the Public Overwhelmingly Supports Specific Types of Regulation, But Questions 'Regulation' in General?

A new Pew public opinion poll published last week shows substantial public support for specific types of regulation, but skepticism about regulation in general. While 70-89% of the public would either expand or keep current levels of five specific types of regulation, 52% say government regulation of business usually does more harm than good as compared to 40% who think regulating business is necessary to protect the public interest. The five types of regulation were car safety and efficiency, environmental protection, food protection and packaging, prescription drugs, and workplace safety and health. These poll results generally echo previous polling, including an earlier poll by Pew.

It may be, as cynics are likely to point out, you can’t underestimate the power of the American people to hold two contradictory ideas at once. Perhaps, but the polling results do offer insight into how the public thinks about regulation.

For one thing, there is little enthusiasm for the radical cutbacks in regulation that many conservative seem to favor. The proportion of people saying that they favored reducing regulation was as follows: car safety and efficiency (9%), environmental protection (17%), food protection and packaging (7%), prescription drugs (20%), and workplace safety and health …

Dec. 29, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced a bill earlier this month that proposes to change regulatory and tax policies with the goal of encouraging more entrepreneurial activity and creating more jobs.  The legislation contains a grab-bag of proposals, such as allowing more aliens with professional expertise in stem cell research to become permanent residents and extending an income tax credit for certain small businesses.  I can’t speak to the merits of these and other proposals in the bill with one exception.  The legislation would codify the current requirement found in executive orders that federal agencies complete a cost-benefit analysis of proposed and final “major” rules.  This idea may sound reasonable on its face, but ultimately it would hinder the ability of federal agencies to issue health and environmental safeguards, and provide no help to the economy.

As other CPR scholars and I have …

Dec. 7, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

Within the last hour, the House of Representatives approved the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act – the REINS Act. The bill was among House Republicans’ top priorities for the year, and they’ve made it and a series of other anti-regulatory bills a centerpiece of their agenda. The plain purpose of the REINS Act is to make it all but impossible for the nation’s regulatory agencies to adopt regulations that would enforce a host of protective laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and many others. The Act would permit Congress (in fact, just one House of Congress) to ignore these legislative mandates in deciding whether to approve regulations, opening the door for much greater politicization of the regulatory process. House Republicans have pursued it in part to prop up their disingenuous argument that regulation is …

Dec. 7, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

On Tuesday, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced the Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act, legislation that offers a number of proposals for jump-starting the economy.  The bill includes two provisions that would hobble the regulatory system without generating the new jobs that the Senators seek. If these provisions were enacted, the bill would block regulatory safeguards that protect all Americans and our environment. The bill’s regulatory provisions would make it harder for the EPA and other regulatory agencies to implement congressional legislation designed to clean up our air and water, make our food safer, and reduce avoidable workplace hazards.

The regulatory provisions in the Collins-McCaskill bill are a nod to Republicans’ specious claim that “excessive regulation” is holding back job growth. One provision would delay EPA’s rule limiting hazardous air pollutants from commercial and industrial boilers by 15 months, and prevent the agency …

Nov. 29, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

Republicans in the House have spent much of the fall trying to blame regulation for the nation’s slow economic recovery.  The fact that there is no reasonable evidence to back up this claim is apparently not a concern for the regulatory opponents.  Moreover, regulatory opponents skip entirely over the impacts of the failure to regulate, pretending that while regulation imposes costs on the economy, the failure to regulate does not. 

Now, there is even more evidence of that regulation cannot be blamed for our current economic woes. The head of the Congressional Budget Office has testified that regulation is not a drag on the economy.   And we have learned from a terrific AP report that the same business firms that have told Congress that proposed environmental regulations are a serious problem have told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—the federal regulatory body that regulates the …

Sept. 23, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) once remarked, “I’ll let you write the substance … you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.” Legislation introduced yesterday in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and in the House by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) to amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) proves Rep. Dingell knew what he was talking about. The APA is the law that governs the way the various agencies of the federal government do their regulatory business – requiring them to operate in the sunlight and to solicit and weigh public comment about proposed regulations, and establishing a framework for judicial review of regulations. The new bill makes more than 30 pages worth of changes to the current APA, which is now about 45 pages long (not counting its Freedom of Information …

Aug. 31, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

House Republicans have promised this week that upon their return to Washington after the recess they will attempt to stop 10 important proposed regulations because they are “job-destroying.” Adhering to the belief that “if you say it often enough, people will believe its true,” the party continues to insist that regulations cost jobs. But, as I discussed in a recent post, the evidence shows that regulation is not a drag on employment because it stimulates the creation of as many new jobs as are lost, and because job gains from regulation can offset job losses, leading to a net gain in employment.

But there is another problem with the Republican agenda: it ignores the benefits of regulation.  A new CPR white paper on regulatory benefits indicates why the Republican deregulatory agenda won’t help with jobs and is a bad deal for Americans.

Government regulation has greatly …

Aug. 22, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

The current anti-regulatory mantra of Republican legislators (e.g., Cantor, Boehner, Issa) and conservative think tanks (e.g., CEI and Heritage) is that regulation is a “job-killer.” And a top plank of Republicans’ job agenda when they return from the summer recess is to limit regulations. There is just one problem with this rhetoric. It is not backed up by the data, including the latest Department of Labor study on the reasons why employers lay off workers.

Economic studies indicate that regulation is not a drag on employment and may actually increase the number of jobs. Bezdek, Wendling and Di Perna found that “EP environmental protection, economic growth, and jobs creation are complementary and compatible: Investments in EP create jobs and displace jobs, but the net effect on employment is positive.” (Quoted here, p. 15). Likewise, when Richard Morgenstern and his colleagues studied the impact of EPA …

Aug. 10, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has a Friday deadline to respond to a subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.). The subpoena seeks "all documents and communications relating to the NLRB's Office of General Counsel's investigation of Boeing..." prior to the time the NLRB issued its complaint against the company. The NLRB has alleged the company created a second assembly line at a nonunion plant in South Carolina to build its 787 Dreamliner in order to retaliate against union workers on Puget Sound, who had a history of conducting lawful strikes.

No one can deny that the House has a legitimate interest in conducting oversight of the Board. At the same time, House ethics rules (House Ethics Manual, p. 303) and a Fifth Circuit decision (Pillsbury Co. v. FTC) prohibit congressional oversight committees from improperly trying to influence the …

June 24, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

On Wednesday, former senator Evan Bayh joined former George W. Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card at the Chamber of Commerce to formally announce their plans to tour around the country campaigning against regulations. The pair have already jumped into a series of falsehoods, endorsing, for example, the discredited SBA-sponsored study claiming regulations cost $1.75 Trillion in a year.

Over at ThinkProgress, CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro takes a closer look at the pair's claims:

Bayh and Card see regulators as having “unprecedented power” and call for “restoring balance and accountability in the process.” I don’t know what regulatory system they are viewing, but it bears no resemblance to the one operating currently in the United States. Far from having “unprecedented power,” agencies find it difficult to complete any type of controversial regulation in less than six to ten years because they must negotiate …

More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
April 18, 2022

In Memoriam: Member Scholar Dale Goble has passed away

March 14, 2022

Marginalized Groups and the Multiple Languages of Regulatory Decision-Making

Feb. 14, 2022

A Wake-Up Call from Winston-Salem: EPA Must Act Now to Prevent Chemical Disasters

Aug. 17, 2021

The Hill Op-ed: Regulatory Analysis Is Too Important to Be Left to the Economists

March 23, 2021

To Democratize Regulation, Reform Regulatory Analysis

March 3, 2021

The Hill Op-ed: Attention, Lawmakers -- Regulation Is More Popular Than You Think

Aug. 12, 2020

Administrative Procedures and Racism