Commentary Archive

Photo of Jerry Ellig

IRS Tax Credit Regulation: Too Much SALT?

October 15, 2018

10/15/18 - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed a regulation that would prevent all individual taxpayers from claiming a federal charitable deduction if the taxpayer received a state tax credit equivalent to more than 15 percent of the donation. This comment explains why the proposed regulation is much broader than necessary to address the real problem the IRS seeks to solve: state tax credit programs designed explicitly to aid taxpayers in avoiding the cap on deductibility of state and local taxes.

Photo of Daniel Flores

E.O. 12866 - A View from the House

October 12, 2018

10/11/18 - Daniel Flores is a Majority Staff member of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, and in this commentary he explains why Congress has long been considering ways to assure legislative activity is animated and guided by the 'Statement of Regulatory Philosophy and Principles' within Executive Order 12866.

Photo of Richard Revesz

E.O. 12866 - 25th Anniversary Remarks

October 09, 2018

10/9/18 - NYU Law Professor Richard Revesz, although supportive of the bipartisan consensus of benefit-cost analysis, is concerned for the future of the principles behind E.O. 12866. This commentary provides his opening remarks and ten examples of what he sees as concerning actions from the current administration.

Photo of Neil Eisner

The Life and Times of Executive Order 12866

October 09, 2018

10/9/18 - Neil Eisner, former Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, Dept. of Transportation, comments on the initial implementation and adoption of Executive Order 12866, highlights four significant accomplishments it has had within the rulemaking process, and offers a few lessons learned.

Image of Susan Dudley

The Future of E.O. 12866: Embracing Regulatory Humility

October 05, 2018

10/5/18 - Susan Dudley, former OIRA Administrator, discusses how Executive Order 12866 has lead to bipartisan consensus of regulatory principles, reviews the ongoing effects of this 25-year-old rulemaking process, and why it is likely to continue to make a significant difference well into the future.

Clark Nardinelli

Praising the Principles in Executive Order 12866

October 03, 2018

Clark Nardinelli, Chief Economist at FDA and Vice President of the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis, comments on the philosophy underlying E.O. 12866 and the 12 principles of good regulation. He recently participated in the "Looking Back on 25 Years" panel at the Regulatory Studies Center forum celebrating 25 Years of E.O. 12866.

Bridget Dooling

Reflections on the E.O. 12866 Anniversary Event from a Bureaucrat Turned Academic

October 02, 2018

Bridget Dooling is a research professor at the GW Regulatory Studies Center. She moderated the "Looking Back on 25 Years" panel, and in this commentary she shares her key take-aways as well as her overall impressions of the event, informed by her tenure in OIRA.

Shawne McGibbon

Congressional Views on the Bipartisan Principles of E.O. 12866

October 02, 2018

10/2/18 - Shawne McGibbon (General Counsel, Administrative Conference of the United States) comments on the refreshing bipartisan discussions around E.O. 12866 and how legislative vehicles can codify the E.O.'s requirements.

Sally Katzen

Tracing Executive Order 12866’s Longevity to its Roots - Katzen

October 01, 2018

10/1/18 - Sally Katzen (OIRA Administrator with President Clinton) reflects on how Executive Order 12866 came into existence and lays down the foundation for why it has thrived over the past 25 years of bipartisan administrations.

Zoey & Mark

Future of Regulation: Challenges and Opportunities from Emerging Technology

September 19, 2018

9/19/18 - On September 12, the GW Regulatory Studies Center co-hosted an event with the Deloitte Center for Government Insights and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration on the Future of Regulation. Experts from government agencies, think tanks, private sector companies, and universities discussed how emerging technologies are impacting traditional regulatory systems. This commentary highlights key themes from the event, including the importance of regulatory humility, the alternative regulatory tools available to agencies, opportunities for regulators to improve outcomes and compliance, and the challenges associated with regulating emerging technologies.

Zhoudan Xie

“Behavioural Government:” Implications for Regulator Behavior

September 05, 2018

9/5/18 - Building on a new report published by the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK, this commentary discusses behavioral biases of regulators. Although we usually talk about “nudging” to correct irrational choices of individual citizens, recent research demonstrates a willingness to challenge the assumption that policymakers have a better grasp on individuals’ optimal choices than the individuals themselves. This commentary explores this idea in the U.S. context, focusing on regulators’ behavior. It compares private and public decision makers, and illustrates the importance of applying behavioral insights to public decision making.

Mark Febrizio

Better Data Collection Would Improve Analysis of NEPA Regulations

August 29, 2018

8/29/18 - CEQ is considering revisions to its implementing rules for NEPA. This offers an opportunity for CEQ to align its NEPA regulations with regulatory best practices and improve data collection for conducting retrospective review. Better data collection would improve evaluation of the effectiveness of NEPA implementation. Data should be comparable across time and agencies and made publicly available. Agencies like DOE have already demonstrated that it is possible to collect and report such data, even if the methods of conveying the information to the public could be improved.

Susan E. Dudley

EPA Proposes Replacement for Obama’s Signature Climate Initiative

August 22, 2018

8/22/18 - On August 21, 2018, EPA proposed its replacement for the Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court stayed in 2016. The new “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule is dramatically different from the Obama-era Clean Power Plan; it focuses on increasing efficiency and providing states more flexibility, rather than shifting power generation away from coal and fossil fuels. Dudley reviews the legal and analytical background for the rule and observes that market forces will likely cause greenhouse gas emissions to continue to decline.


Regulatory Sandboxes: The future of regulation?

August 01, 2018

8/2/18 - On June 19, 2018, the Deloitte Center for Government Insights published an article on The Future of Regulation: Principles for Regulating Emerging Technologies. In it, William D. Eggers, Mike Turley, and Pankaj Kishnani lay out the business and technological challenges of regulating today’s technologies. The article offers five principles for regulating emerging technologies: adaptive regulation, outcome-based regulation, risk-weighted regulation, collaborative regulation, and regulatory sandboxes. This commentary explores regulatory sandboxes, a concept borrowed from the tech sector and first implemented in the United Kingdom.

Mark & Samantha

FCC Process Reform Underscores Need for Economic Review at Independent Regulatory Agencies

July 24, 2018

7/24/18 - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael O'Rielly recently made the case for the agency to provide more detailed benefit-cost analyses, and to establish better internal processes aimed at improving regulatory outcomes - other independent agencies should take note.