April 17, 2017

Trump's Regulatory 'David'

Jerry Ellig

Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

Rosemarie Fike

Instructor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Media accounts have already begun to refer to George Mason University Law Professor Neomi Rao as President Donald Trump's "regulatory czar." A more apt title would be "regulatory David" – as in the intrepid up-and-comer who confronted Goliath.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is outnumbered nearly 5,000 to 1 by the federal regulatory bureaucracy it is expected to oversee. If confirmed as administrator, Rao would have about 50 employees to ride herd on regulatory agencies that employ about 279,000 people. The agency is truly a plucky David facing a regulatory Goliath.

The regulatory office reviews the most important regulations from executive branch agencies, along with any analyses these agencies produce to inform the decisions. This is a critical task, because poor information can lead to poor regulatory decisions.

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