Congress Should Halt OMB’s Rewrite Of Circular A-4 Guidance On Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis

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People love to gripe about red tape; but not only is there a method to the madness, there’s a certain madness to the method these days.

Regulations typically go through public notice-and-comment procedures. That’s obscure enough when they appear in a Federal Register of tens of thousands of pages annually that nobody can actually read. Down another layer below that, the assessments of the purported costs and benefits of what agencies plan to inflict are called Regulatory Impact Analyses.

The Biden administration has just proposed a rewrite of the White House Office of Management and Budget’s so-called “Circular A-4” guidance on regulatory impact anaysis preparation (with a June 6 deadline on public comment that ought to be extended).

If you’ve been unsettled by the federal government’s insatiable appetite for growth over the past few years, OMB’s proposed rewrite of regulatory assessment procedures presents a big-time dilemma of such gravitas that “mere” public comments aimed at tweaking the end product cannot resolve. At this advanced stage of federal government consolidation and covetousness, only a work-stoppage by Congress can clear a pathway to preserve regulatory restraint and restore constitutional normalcy when it comes to the Administrative State.

The Draft Circular’s assumptions and biases underscore irreconcilable differences (many longstanding) in what classical liberals and Progressives (who now comprise the bulk of the Administrative State career apparatus and Biden appointments) might be willing to recognize as a regulatory cost or a benefit in the first place when it comes to the introduction of coercion into human affairs.