Posted by | February 4, 2011 21:20 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The following exchange between Republican Rep. Joe Barton (pictured) and President Obama’s Regulatory “Czar” Cass Sunstein illustrates the gulf between the Republican language on most issues and the Obama Administration’s attempt to counter with pesky facts.  The setting was a recent oversight hearing.

“There has been an explosion of regulation and regulations issued in the first years of the Obama administration,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex. “Quite frankly, I didn’t see that your organization has done anything to slow this down. I don’t see that you’ve done anything to do what the new executive order says.”

“If I may discuss the idea of explosion,” said Sunstein. “The number of regulations issued in the last two years is approximately the same as the number issued in the last two years of the Bush administration.”

This was a bit much for Barton. “Just the regulations issued under the new health care law are in the thousands!” he said.

“The number that have been issued in the last months are not in the thousands,” said Sunstein. “In terms of finalized economically significant rules, I don’t think the data supports the claim—”

Back during the Bush (43) Administration, Karl Rove described Bush critics as the “Reality-based community.”  Nearly a decade later, Republicans still hope that their sensational claims about “thousands of regulations” or “socialized medicine” or “the myth of global warming” will trump real data.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.