Simpler government arrived four years ago. It helped put money in your pocket. It saved hours of your time. It improved your children’s diet, lengthened your life span, and benefited businesses large and small. It did so by issuing fewer regulations, by insisting on smarter regulations, and by eliminating or improving old regulations. Cass R. Sunstein, as administrator of the most powerful White House office you’ve never heard of, oversaw it and explains how it works, why government will never be the same again (thank goodness), and what must happen in the future.
Cutting-edge research in behavioral economics has influenced business and politics. Long at the forefront of that research, Sunstein, for three years President Obama’s “regulatory czar” heading the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, oversaw a far-reaching restructuring of America’s regulatory state. In this highly anticipated book, Sunstein pulls back the curtain to show what was done, why Americans are better off as a result, and what the future has in store.
The evidence is all around you, and more is coming soon. Simplified mortgages and student loan applications. Scorecards for colleges and universities. Improved labeling of food and energy-efficient appliances and cars. Calories printed on chain restaurant menus. Healthier food in public schools. Backed by historic executive orders ensuring transparency and accountability, simpler government can be found in new initiatives that save money and time, improve health, and lengthen lives. Simpler: The Future of Government will transform what you think government can and should accomplish.
Not bigger or smaller government, but cheaper, smarter, better government is the message of this modest yet far-reaching manifesto on regulatory policy. Bestselling Harvard law professor Sunstein (coauthor of Nudge) recounts his stint as the Obama administration's chief of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where he helped implement regulations that cut power-plant pollution, mandated disclosure of airline and credit card fees, and improved auto fuel mileage standards while abolishing ill-considered or absurd rules. (Industrial milk spills, he notes, are no longer treated like toxic oil spills.) He elaborates an astonishingly straightforward regulatory philosophy: keep regulations simple and clear; let citizens choose while giving them information and encouragement to choose well; make sure regulations don't impose disproportionate burdens he champions the much-maligned cost-benefit analysis and keep track of how well they are working. Naturally, the author's common-sense approach outraged both liberals and conservatives Glenn Beck branded him " the most dangerous man in America'" and his tragicomic account of his confirmation process emerges as the byzantine, partisan, dysfunctional antithesis of good governance. Sunstein grounds his ideas in a lucid, engaging treatment of behavioral economics that sees a role for the state in nudging humans towards rationality and responsibility. The result is a forthright, compelling vision of technocratic government that's both efficient and humane.