April 2010 Vol. 108 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Rationalism in Regulation

Christopher C. DeMuth & Douglas H. Ginsburg

Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health. By Richard L. Revesz & Michael A. Livermore. New York: Oxford University Press. 2008. Pp. viii, 254. $34.95.

Although legislative efforts were in the forefront during the first year of the Obama Administration, legislation is not the only way an administration leaves its mark. Since the Carter Administration, White House oversight of regulatory programs has been an important tool that every president has used to advance his policy objectives. Key issues raised by White House oversight and the use of cost-benefit analysis as a guide to regulatory decisions are addressed in Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health, by Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore (2008). In this Review, Christopher C. DeMuth and Douglas H. Ginsburg, both administrators of the White House regulatory review program during the Reagan Administration, evaluate and criticize Retaking Rationality's arguments in detail. They find that Retaking Rationality fails to support its claim that cost-benefit "fallacies" have been used to block worthwhile regulations, and that the book's authors hold an unrealistic conception of the ability of cost-benefit analysis to settle contentious political questions. Messrs. DeMuth and Ginsburg argue that Retaking Rationality's conception of White House oversight as a neutral policy-optimizing mechanism is also unrealistic: active White House involvement in agency rulemaking is a legitimate and necessary means by which a president pursues his policies, whether they be the policies of a President Reagan or those of a President Obama.

   //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Speedy Trial as a Viable Challenge to Chronic Underfunding in Indigent-Defense Systems

Across the country, underresourced indigent-defense systems create delays in taking cases to trial...

A Blended Approach to Reducing the Costs of Shareholder Litigation

Multiforum litigation and federal securities law class actions impose heavy costs on corporations and...

The Scope of Precedent

The scope of Supreme Court precedent is capacious. Justices of the Court commonly defer to sweeping rationales...

Reinventing Copyright and Patent

Intellectual property systems all over the world are modeled on a one-size-fits-all principle. However...

Protecting Whistleblower Protections in the Dodd-Frank Act

In 2008, the United States fell into its worst economic recession in over seventy years. In response,...
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List