On Tuesday, Fox News obtained documents showing that the federal government is initiating a program designed to “nudge” Americans toward particular behaviors. The “Behavioral Insights Team” to be formed would work with the White House, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, among others. The document, emailed by White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences Maya Shenker to a university professor, states, “Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people achieve their goals.”
The document names several behavioral changes brought about by British “nudging,” including “sending letters to late taxpayers that indicated a social norm,” resulting in higher tax receipts. Another British policy promoted “adoption of attic-insulation.”
Dan Cruz, spokesman for the US General Services Administration, told FoxNews.com, “As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to promote efficiency and savings, GSA is considering adding some expertise from academia in the area of program efficiency and evaluation under its Performance Improvement Council.”
Richard Thaler, who along with former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein wrote the book titled Nudge, said, “The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government by using scientifically collected evidence to inform policy designs. What is the alternative? The only alternatives I know are hunches, tradition, and ideology (either left or right.)”
The Obama administration has not been shy about attempting to use its influence – or taxpayer money – to push enthusiasm for its agenda, including Obamacare, nutrition, and gay rights.