Saturday, February 14, 2004

They're Back....

OMB Again Calls For Review Of Regulations

The White House Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is once again asking "the public" to identify regulations (such as OSHA standards) that they believe impede competitiveness in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

This review is allegedly due to the White House's concern about job loss in the manufacturing sector. The White House is particularly concerned about small business.

The National Association of Manufacturers was quite pleased:
"Regulatory compliance costs faced by U.S. manufacturers are generally much higher than those faced by overseas competitors, so we very much welcome OMB's initiative," said Jerry J. Jasinowski, president of the NAM.
Translation: "if only we could run our businesses like they do in China."

(If you're really interested in NAM's reasoning behind this statement, you can check out their report "How Structural Costs Imposed on U.S. Manufacturers Harm Workers and Threaten Competitiveness" which complains about how much it is costing businesses to clean up (the environment) after themselves, assure the public that they are not stealing from their stockholders and employees, and keep their workers alive and healthy...all of which sound vaguely reminiscent of lessons that some of us learned in Kindergarten.)

The Small Business Administration was also quite pleased:
"You have to figure out any possible way to get rid of barriers to job creation," said Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel for advocacy at the SBA.
Sullivan, you may remember, was the former Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses before he was appointed to his current position by President Bush in 2002. He is also a winner of the coveted Confined Space Quote of the Week award for the following statement:
"I am doing the exact same thing as chief counsel for advocacy," Sullivan said, "only NFIB does not have to pay me now."
How nice for them.

OMB has not pleased everyone, however:
Critics of the Bush administration see the review as another attempt to roll back health and safety rules.

"It's an out-and-out appeal to the manufacturing sector to give OMB a wish list of regulations to be undone. It's a call for a new regulatory hit list," said Lisa Heinzerling, a professor at Georgetown Law Center who recently published a book, "Pricing the Priceless," which criticizes how cost-benefit analysis is applied to health and environmental policy.