Obama throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Major League Baseball's opening game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies, 2010.

  Chances are that you will never hear a crowd at a protest rally chant, “What do we need? Regulation! When do we need it? Now!” People want safe food, clean air, and clean water. But in the abstract, regulation is never a popular idea. In a tough economic environment, it might seem like a recipe for disaster. In the United States, businesses large and small have long argued that they are subject to excessive red tape and government oversight, and in the context of a serious recession, that concern has become acute. In light of the country’s general enthusiasm for freedom of choice, regulation is particularly vulnerable to political attack. I learned just how intensely many Americans oppose government regulation in 2009, when President Barack Obama nominated me to become the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The OIRA administrator is often described as the

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe
  • CASS R. SUNSTEIN is Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2012, he served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This essay is adapted from his most recent book, Simpler: The Future of Government (Simon & Schuster, 2013). Copyright © by Cass R. Sunstein.
  • More By Cass R. Sunstein