Cass Robert Sunstein Was Born September 21, Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #50650233 Related Topics: Workplace Safety, Constitutional Law, Food Safety, Administrative Law
Excerpt from Essay :

Cass Robert Sunstein was born September 21, 1954 and has a background as an American legal scholar in law, specifically: administrative, environmental, and constitutional law. He also has experience in behavioral economics. Along with time as an American legal scholar, he also held a position at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as an Administrator. For nearly three decades, Sunstein also instructed at the University of Chicago Law School. His current job is professor at the Robert Walmsley University and Harvard Law School. Such experience and expertise provides Sunstein with enough expert ability to write such a well thought out book as Simpler: The Future of Government. The book itself is loaded with interesting and insightful information not only on law, but on the inner workings of President Barack Obama's administration. As previously mentioned, Sunstein worked as the Adminstrator of OIRA. He managed and supervised the regulatory production of the numerous organizations within the executive branch. Sunstein also regulated, as he mentioned in the book, environmental protection,


As he mentioned some of the things that are still within his inbox, he includes a group of Department of Energy efficiency standards that have remained unchecked since 2011. The standards are meant to minimize exposure to a main cause of sick workers annually, silica dust. He ultimately chose to ignore such important things and that is one noteworthy part of the book, is his explanation of his authority within the White House.

Sunstein had the power, ultimately, to stop, even slow down activities within the president's Cabinet. "Nonetheless, OIRA's authority to slow down or even to halt regulations-to say no to members of the president's Cabinet-gives the administrator a major role in shaping their content" (Sunstein, 2013, p. 3). This somewhat "eagerly" mentioned aspect of his book is a great way to objectively see how people worked and behaved in important areas of government. It was a means of looking into how "rules" were essentially accepted or dismissed. OIRA's cost-benefit test, essentially made it so agencies could not move forward with their rules, should they fail such a test.


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Sunstein provides a good example of this kind of decision making process towards the end of the book by explaining that although some things may cost more than benefit in a monetary sense, they can benefit more in other ways. "Suppose that a workplace safety rule would cost $400 million and produce benefits of $350 million. At first glance the rule fails a cost-benefit test. But suppose that the costs would be incurred by those who sell and use a luxury good" (Sunstein, 2013, p. 160). He goes on to use pollution and explains in terms of human welfare, the importance of certain actions that may seem more costly than beneficial, financially, but socially, health wise, may be worth it. Ultimately what OIRA's main goal is, is to prevent accidents, disease, and save lives. All of these are important to consider and may represent hurdles when trying to figure out and budget government expenses through agency actions.

Sunstein does a great job of explaining how these hurdles are often dealt with and what it takes to get to a point of agreement and conclusion. People often fail to understand what goes on behind the curtain and assume that the government is full of corrupt individuals that ignore the facts and instead go by the way of lobbyists and people who fund political campaigns. However, Sunstein shows that although facts are not completely ignored, it's not just the facts that are being taken under consideration, but also the impact on one's individual value system. "When people disagree about a rule that would protect clean air or increase highway safety, it is because of what they most value, not because of disagreements about the evidence. Facts are not irrelevant, but they are hardly the main event" (Sunstein, 2013, p. 147).

Sunstein has always had a clear voice when it came to politics and regulation. In a recent article, he explains his ideas under the context of Hayek, as well as his thoughts on regulation of government. "Instead of conservatism, Hayek argued for a principled commitment to liberty -- an approach that would sharply constrain government and "take an essentially radical position, directed against popular prejudices, entrenched positions and firmly established privileges" (Washington Post, 2014). So often one cannot see the voice behind a writer as clear as is seen in this book and in Sunstein. He has the ability to concisely and clearly show his own perspective as well as the overall perspective of the government as it relates to people, agencies, processes, law, and oversight.

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