The Week In Wonkery

Posted by | August 21, 2010 23:15 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Congress is in recess.  I was on vacation in New England (as is President Obama).  Yet the gears of government grind on.  Some notable events in the past week:

— FDA approved a new morning after pill (mysteriously anti-abortion forces decried the decision as compromising women’s safety while pro-choice advocates say the pill is safe.

— SEC, the FED, and the FDIC announced that it would write the regulations implementing the recently passed financial reform bill in an unprecedented manner.  Transparency will be greater than any previous similar rulemaking.

— The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (the successor to the failed Mineral Management Service) released new guidelines on the environmental safeguards for deepwater drilling.  Industry voiced concern (it’s not yet feasible to voice anger about restrictions on drilling).

— The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration proposed requiring large coach buses to install seat belts for passengers.  The agency expects to save nearly 20 lives per year with the regulation.

— The National Transporation Safety Board called for tighter restrictions on air ambulances (19 people have died since last September).  The Medevac industry opposes such regulations.

I highlight these to point out the important policy questions that occur outside of the political branches of government and outside of the headlines (with the exception of the morning-after pill item).  They affect thousands of lives and have large economic impacts.  Pay attention!

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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