The collapse of the federal budget process and the decline in trust in government threaten the stability of the self-governing republic that we inherited from our nation’s founders. Informed by their moral and political philosophy, we suggest an approach to reforming the budget process aimed at reclaiming that institutional trust. We argue that budget process reform must be animated by two related ideas: First, that post-constitutional statutory law must be impartial, and second, that both citizens and their elected representatives have a right to participate in, and to influence, the political process.
Using data from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card project and statistics on Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review time from reginfo.gov, we examine whether the quality and use of regulatory analysis vary consistently with OIRA actions.
Is the midnight regulations phenomenon real and what are its consequences? This paper finds that when an administration’s time is almost up, submissions of economically significant regulations nearly double. Such surges in regulatory activity decrease the duration of regulatory review at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), likely because of political pressure to quickly approve new rules. Specifically, one additional economically significant regulation submitted to OIRA decreases the mean review time for all regulations by about two thirds of a day. If OIRA review improves regulation quality, then regulatory surges that decrease review time could hinder such improvement.
We examine the correlation between federal government activity and performance of the capital’s National Football League team, the Washington Redskins. We find a positive, non-spurious, and robust correlation between the Redskins’ winning percentage and bureaucratic output, measured by pages published in the Federal Register. Because the Redskins’ performance is prototypically exogenous, we give this result a causal interpretation and provide a plausible, causal mechanism: bureaucrats must make “logrolling” deals to expand their regulatory power, and a winning football team offers a shared source of optimism to lubricate such negotiations. We do not find the same correlation when examining congressional activity.
In this journal article, Jerry Brito first looks at the roots of success for Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) commissions. He then compares them to recent commission proposals to limit federal spending.