Cass Sunstein administered the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Referred to as OIRA (Oh-eye-rah) in wonky academic circles, it is one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes jobs a person can have because it reviews nearly every regulation for an administrative state that continues to expand.
And on Friday, Sunstein resigned from this post and said he would go back to Harvard, signifying another moment in which a key Obama ally decided it was better to jump ship.
Sunstein once argued in a speech at Harvard that the government could be used to eliminate “practices such as ... meat eating,” argued hunting should be banned (“We ought to ban hunting ... that should be against the law ... it’s time now,” he said), and wrote in a 2004 book that animals should be able to sue in a court of law and have humans represents them as clients.
Few represented President Barack Obama’s academic aloofness and air of intellectual superiority more than Sunstein and Obama essentially asked the radical professor what job he would want in his administration.
That would explain why he was given enormous power to review the language of Obamacare. Sunstein also reviewed Dodd-Frank, which is destroying small banks, environmental regulations, new food rules -- such as changing the food pyramid to a plate -- and a variety of fuel efficiency standards. He was also in charge of E.P.A. regulations that created new standards for carbon emissions from various-sized plants, which burdened businesses and created more economic uncertainty for those trying to start businesses or build manufacturing plants at home.
In truth, Sunstein -- and OIRA -- reviewed nearly everything in the vast administrative state. His power is more significant in dealing with under-the-radar rules and regulations that often go unnoticed.
The New York Times aptly described Sunstein as someone who “came to Washington to test his theories of human behavior and economic efficiency in the laboratory of the federal government.”
Like Obama’s, these academic theories are often not grounded in reality, and that is why they fail miserably.
Sunstein and the White House declined to comment directly to any outlet on Friday. The White House just released a brief statement which said “For the last three and a half years, Cass Sunstein has helped drive a series of historic accomplishments on behalf of the American people.
“Cass has shown that it is possible to support economic growth without sacrificing health, safety, and the environment,” Obama said, on the days the July jobs report came out that showed a stagnant economy.
One reason for the slumping economy is the spate of regulations that have created an uncertain business climate for small businesses. Other business have left the country because the burdensome web of regulations has made it impossible for them to turn a profit at home.
Sunstein also conducted “look backs’ at every regulation that was on the books -- strengthening and tinkering with a host of them under the radar.
Sunstein's resignation represents another admission by the White House that its desire to transform American society based on intellectual theories thought up in elite Ivy League zip codes is failing and is drastically unpopular among voters, especially those who are struggling in Obama's economy.