Washington Is Eliminating Some Red Tape, Keeping Most of It



Here's the big finish of a piece by regulatory czar Cass Sunstein in today's Wall Street Journal, titled "Washington Is Eliminating Red Tape":

The Federal Aviation Administration continues to take steps to ensure that air travel is safe. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration work every day to protect Americans from unsafe food.

Clearly concerned that WSJ readers will get too excited when they read that the just-completed Obama-ordered "regulatory look-back is not a one-time endeavor"(!), Sunstein chose to wrap up with a reassuring reminder that for every regulation that is killed, more spring up to take its place. 

Still, after several months of planning and a couple of public drafts, federal agencies have found some regulations to trim—for a savings of $4 billion over 5 years—and the reductions he outlines sound good, if vague:

The Department of Transportation is proposing a rule that will eliminate unnecessary regulation of the railroad industry, saving a total of $340 million or more.


The Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to simplify and improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers more than $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety.

That last one even involved billions, with a "b."

NEXT: The AFL-CIO, Citizens United, Super PACs, & What a Difference a Couple Years Make

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  1. Gotta’ love the savings inflation. It’s almost as bad as hiring a consultant to review your manufacturing lines.

    “We can save you millions by impelenting six-sigma!”

    1. And “Just-in-Time!” MOAR millions saved!!! Or crea…no, just saved!

    2. And Continuous Improvement Kaizen Work Teams Jumping Jacks By The Flag in the Morning Min/Max Synchronous Flow Automation could be worth teh BILLYUNS!!!


        worst acronym ever.

      2. I see you guys have worked for corporations, before.

        1. Engineer, worked in design and manufacturing. I became familiar with all of the BS consulting scams.

          Don’t forget The Theory of Constraints. One of my personal faves.

          But my absolute favorite term is “synergies”

          1. Mine is ‘stakeholders’, to the point where I actually use it non-ironically rather frequently.

            1. So true, so true

            2. I prefer this Demotivator:


          2. “Reach out” is my latest despised term.

            “I’ll have Judy reach out to you…”


            Well, in my MIND I say that…

            1. Better put a Tiger Team on that and find someone to champion your efforts.


              1. Sigfreid and Roy tried that….and we all know how it turned out.

            2. I like to use cop show slang at work. I refer to the guy that reviews out timesheets as a “skell” and if I need someone to do something, I say I’m going to “step into them.”

              1. I prefer Magic 8 Ball emails.

                Respond to everything with one-liners like:

                It is decidedly so.

                Signs point to yes.

                Concentrate and ask again…

                and so on.

              2. My hot-button is “advise”. No one is ever allowed to tell anyone anything. Everyone is “advised”. Also declarative sentences must begin with, “Please be advised…”

                “Please be advised that I was advised by counsel that they had been previously advised to disregard the original advisement (attached).”

                I want to scream.

            3. Almanian, you need to attend the diversity seminar next week.

              1. Where’s those TPM reports?

                1. Did you close the deal?

          3. Don’t get my started on ‘going-forward’ strategies which will improve ‘synergies’.

            1. Paul, I think you’re a little out-of-pocket. Perhaps you need to go through a paradigm shift in your synergistic capabilities. We’ve all moved on to 2.0 here and your deliverables are getting a little stale.

              1. Paul, I think you’re a little out-of-pocket

                I’m a little out of it now that I’m heading into the sunset years… does corporate america use ‘out of pocket’? Because let me tell you, that’s an old-school pimp term. Don’t ask why I know. Something about a misspent youth.

              2. Oh, another of my favs: When people start talking about a shit storm of problems and you get a disapproving look from a manager and he says, correctively, “Opportunities”.

                1. This is kinda like reading Dilbert.

                  Only funnier.

          4. I became familiar with all of the BS consulting scams.

            Here’s one of my favorite HR consulting scams. When I ran into this shit, the first thing I said was, “Wooooooooh, someone went to a seminar!”

            Needless to say my career is the skyrocket you can imagine it to be.

            1. And fuck, if they couldn’t avoid using “Synergy!”

          5. The constraint theory of offense, however, it a good idea in football.

      3. Continuous Process Improvement meets Radical Process Improvemenet and becomes Continuous Radical Process Improvement (CRPI) also known as CHAOS.

        1. If you were CHAOS, you’d already be dead.

  2. A drop in the bucket compared to the costs that new regulations are going to add to businesses. I’m surprised the wsj decided to print such a pile of crap.

    1. So far, “cuts” have almost always been fictional, misdirections, or miniscule. No real indication of that changing with the current government.

  3. That hair…it reminds me of something.

    1. I was thinking Rick Steves.

    2. Hey Reason…where did you get Tonys picture?

  4. Cass doesn’t always look that punchable, but damn if you don’t want to punch that beatific smile off his regulating face.

    1. It’s a ‘for your children’ kind of smile. The kind of ‘for your children’ smile that gets you on a registry of some kind.

      1. The head-tilt adds to the ick factor too, I think. A particular kind of head-tilt can manage to be both patronizing and ingratiating at the same time.

        1. I find it more sad than creepy. It has a “Fuck me, I’m bald at 23” vibe about it.

          1. I got a “How come girls only like the bad boys?” sense from it.

            1. “Have you met my morbidly obese wife?”

              1. “My daughter only dates black men, and I’m totally OK with it, and it doesn’t bother me at all.”

                1. Good for her. But tell her to be careful around black women. Black women, because there are few eligible and well off black men and because very few white men will date black women, tend to be very upset about such things.

        2. He manages to combine smug and patronizing at the same time. To me it has more of the creepy profession “come on, just give me a blowjob and we can forget all about that awful grade I was about to give you on your midterm” vibe to it.

          1. creepy professor look. Come on Dagny, imagine being in a coed again alone in an office with that guy giving you that look. Tell me it wouldn’t shortly be followed by “just get on your knees, it won’t be so bad and I promise not to cum in your mouth”.

    2. I’d rather put duct tape over that smile, break his nose, and dance a jig while he slowly suffocates on his own blood.
      But that’s just me.

      1. Ah! NOW we see the violence inherent in the system! Look at the “libertarian” oppressor!

        /white injun

    3. Is there a German word for a face that only a man who can’t get a boner could have? Because he has that face.

      1. dermeltymann

        1. Die Toten Hosen

          1. While we’re on German, here’s a relevant term: B?rokratie.

              1. I am traumatized by their authority.

                1. One of Einst?rzende Neubauten’s improvised musical instruments was a metal shopping cart with guitar pick-ups glued all over it.

    4. Cass doesn’t always look that punchable,

      True! Sometimes he looks MORE punchable!


      Attention this is a fabulous hat related THREADJACK brought to you by the AGRICULTURAL CITY STATE!


      1. “…it’s all slipping from our hands…”

        That’s sad. And, yet, scary.

        1. Yeah…but the hat…the hat!?

    5. Thank you. I thought I was alone.

  5. Lots of hard work goes into creating all this legislation and regulation.
    How would you like it if someone threw away all of your hard work because someone whined about it?
    Besides, it is the job of regulators to regulate.
    That is their duty.
    They’ve got families to feed too. If they can’t justify their employment by churning out regulation, how are they to feed their families?
    It’s for TEH CHILDRENZ!

  6. The Department of Transportation is proposing a rule that will eliminate unnecessary regulation of the railroad industry, saving a total of $340 million or more.

    So that’s why modern rail travel has been a turd. Regulations.

  7. I enjoyed the link to the pay-wall. Very informative. Thanks!

    Washington Is Eliminating Red Tape
    New reforms will save Americans billions without sacrificing public health or safety.
    To continue reading…Subscribe to WSJ online

    1. Just google the title of the article. The link will be to the article as a free sample of WSJ subscriber content.

      1. Thanks. Now I don’t have anything to complain about, except that KMW shouldn’t link to pay-walls.

        Anyway, it looks like Hurricane Irene might wipe out D.C.!…..e#contents


        1. Or maybe an earthquake?

          1. Frogs would be awesome.

    2. Please allow me to google that for you:

  8. House is burning down; man throws cupful of water on it, says, “Hey, at least I’m doing *something*”

  9. Seven out of ten anarchists favor more government regulation.

  10. How much money is the government saving by cutting these regs? Yeah, it’s a great idea to reduce the regulatory burden on business, but business ain’t $14 trillion in the hole like the .gov is.

  11. All of this seismic change in the regulation structure explains the earthquake DC just experienced.

    1. I sure hope thousands of politicians don’t get crushed to death.

      1. Sadly no. It was a small one. Perhaps just a warning from the Gods.

        1. A shelf in the Federal Register gave way.

        2. A good breeze after a good shaking might knock down some buildings.

          1. It wouldn’t do any good unless it knocked them down onto the people in them.

            1. Felt a small tremor in NY at the same time.

            2. Too bad that ones who could use being buried alive are on vacation

              1. Centered in Mineral, VA. 5.9 magnitude

                Shook my building pretty good, thought I was back in California for a minute.


        1. I trust that fucker Sunstein even less than I did when he was just a neo-commie rabblerouser without a full-time paying job.

  12. The Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to simplify and improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers more than $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety.

    [Emphasis added.] “The requirement for solid gold warning placards has been rescinded.”

    Seriously, WTF is it?

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  14. Eliminating some red tape, eh?

    This analogous to what is known in the ivestment industry as “window dressing”.

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