Biden Executive Order Harms Transparency

The Biden administration recently issued an Executive Order making major changes to the regulatory system, although almost nobody noticed thanks to culture war drama dominating the news. Over in The Hill, Wayne Crews and I explain how the regulatory system will now be less transparent, and is more geared to rationalizing new rules than to providing accurate information about them:

The executive order’s most visible change is a doubled threshold for classifying “economically significant” regulations, from $100 million of annual economic impact to $200 million. Significant regulations get reviewed at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), while smaller rules typically do not.

That higher threshold means fewer new regulations will get outside review at all, giving the administration a freer hand. Future administrations will be similarly unconstrained. There is more:

Even more troubling is the apparent change in OIRA’s mission. Biden’s executive order states that OIRA’s “regulatory analysis should facilitate agency efforts to develop regulations that serve the public interest,” which effectively changes OIRA’s role from supervisor to cheerleader.

This opens up an emperor-has-no-clothes problem. Not only will the Biden administration lack truth-tellers going forward, future administrations will as well. This new Executive Order is hardly a recipe for good government and sound regulation.

Read the whole thing here. See also Wayne’s Ten Thousand Commandments study and my paper on institution-level regulatory reforms.