Bloomberg News

Obama Critics Overstate Rules’ Effects, Sunstein Says

September 05, 2012

Critics of the regulations imposed during President Barack Obama’s administration have overstated their effects on the U.S. economy, said Cass Sunstein, who left his post this year as the administration’s top regulator.

“If you’ve got any kernel of a complaint, you turn it into a mountain” in an election year, said Sunstein, now a professor at Harvard Law School and a contributor to Bloomberg View.

Sunstein, 57, spoke at the Bloomberg Link at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs until August.

He said the Obama administration has proposed fewer regulations than those of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

Sunstein said he tried to bring an approach that relied on cost-benefit analysis, so that the public could see what it was getting from regulations.

“The cost-benefit analysis I think is first and foremost a technical exercise, but it has a big democratic payoff, democratic with a small d,” he said.

Sunstein also said he appreciated input from members of Congress, who usually had constructive information about the effect of regulations.

Tom Miller, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, singled out Sunstein for criticism in responding to his remarks.

“Barack Obama’s regulations have choked business growth and nobody is more out of touch with how to spur small business than legal professor Cass Sunstein,” Miller said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Charlotte, North Carolina at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at

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