As head of the White House office that deals with government regulation under President Obama, Cass Sunstein pushed for fewer rules and lower costs. His new book lays out a path for simpler, if not smaller, government going forward.
Whenever a federal agency sets new standards, say about the environment, or the financial industry, there's an office inside the White House that has to put the final seal of approval on those regulations. It's called OIRA (pronounced, "Oh, Ira") -- theOffice of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Up until last year, Cass Sunstein ran that office for President Obama. And he's got a new book about making government, and its rules, work more elegantly. It's called "Simpler".
"Think of a large company which is not going to get smaller. It shouldn't. It should grow. But it can get simpler. It can make the experience for its own employees and for its customers easier," Sunstein says. "My suggestion is that governments can serve their citizens a lot better if they get simpler."
The current regulatory system in the United States is undoubtedly complicated, with state and local agencies issuing their own rules. That's in addition to the sometimes conflicting policies coming out of multiple federal agencies. At Sunstein's former post, OIRA, the focus is on negotiating and solving those potential conflicts.
That can lead to criticism that the office is a convenient place for Presidents to allow inconvenient rules to wither away. Sunstein doesn't agree with that characterization.