From Ronald Wilson Reagan at http://www.oilempire.us/reagan.html|
Reagan also created a Cabinet-level regulatory relief task force overseen by
then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, and from that committee emerged a
number of figures who became influential on their own, including Jim Tozzi,
executive director of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, and former
Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.), who chaired the House Energy, Natural
Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee.
While many inside government championed the tightened regulatory review
process initiated by Reagan, some interest groups maintain the policy
amounted to a shackling of experienced regulators who had more extensive
knowledge and understanding of the issues than the White House's budget
"We recognized that a great deal was at stake no matter what side [of the
debate] you were on," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, a
group that formed in 1983 in response to Reagan's efforts to tighten the
circle of those who had the final say on policy decisions.
Bass called Reagan's OMB directive "an incredible new intervention" because
it disposed of traditional interagency review of rules in favor of
centralized review by the White House. "His intent from day one was to undo
the regulatory system as we knew it," Bass said.
In one of the many parallels drawn between Reagan and President George W.
Bush, observers note that today's OMB has strictly adhered to the
cost-benefit analysis approach, though today's reviews of environmental
rules tend to focus as much on sound science as on economic issues. The
debate over reviews has grown more contentious as well as environmental
issues become more complex. Global climate change, for example, an issue
largely nonexistent during the Reagan years, now threatens to drive a wedge
between those in the government's scientific and regulatory communities and
those charged with protecting industry and consumers against costly
But some Republicans and industry officials maintain that OMB's influence
over federal rules has been scaled back in recent years, particularly after
the Clinton administration amended the policy to require reviews only for
rules that result in an economic burden of $100 million or more for a
particular industry sector.
Marlo Lewis, a senior policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise
Institute, noted that the number of "return letters" from OMB asking
agencies to make substantial changes to rules "dropped to almost zero during
the Clinton administration," and has increased moderately under the Bush
administration with 22 letters since 2001.
Reagan's legacy and George W. Bush
For many, Reagan's environmental legacy is easy to find in modern-day
governance. One only needs to look at the record and instincts of President
George W. Bush. Like Reagan, Bush is a former governor who embodies a folksy
style and management approach that emphasizes broad policy direction over
the minutia of government. Bush also parallels Reagan with his appeals to
Americans' sense of self-reliance and the desire to minimize regulation. In
matters of energy policy and commercial use of natural resources, the two
presidents share similar scripts.
"If you compare Reagan and Bush, they have similar philosophies about the
proper role of government, a pro-business bent and an inclination to have
less regulation than more," said DiPeso of Republicans for Environmental