Cass Sunstein. (Harvard Law School via Bloomberg…)
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration’s top regulator is heading for the door.
The White House announced Friday that Cass Sunstein, the so-called regulatory czar, will be returning to his post at Harvard Law School.
As administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for more than three years, Sunstein has overseen the administration’s regulatory regime, including a much-touted initiative aimed at weeding out unnecessary and outdated regulations.
Sunstein was known as the chief advocate for rigorous cost-benefit analysis in drafting rules and challenging common assumptions about the effect of government intervention in business.
Announcing the departure, President Obama said Sunstein’s work “has shown that it is possible to support economic growth without sacrificing health, safety and the environment.”
Sunstein’s approach won him early kudos from the some on the right -- including the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which praised Sunstein’s 2009 nomination as a “promising sign.” But it did not do much to blunt Republican attacks aimed at the Obama’s administration “job-killing regulations.”
And it did not endear him to many on the left, who often saw him as a roadblock in efforts to push the administration to be more aggressive when it came to regulatory matters.
“... [I]n the final analysis, Sunstein has continued the Bush administration’s tradition of using the office to block needed health and safety protections disliked by big business and political contributors,” said Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform. “Worse, the narrative that Sunstein helped craft about the impact of regulations on American life -- that regulatory safeguards are fundamentally suspect -- was discordant with the rest of the president’s agenda and the arguments he makes for his reelection.”