Trump's 'Small Business' Office Solicits Update for Anti-Safeguards Propaganda

by James Goodwin | July 06, 2017

Late last Thursday, the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy announced that it was soliciting proposals for "small business research" projects. The solicitation – and particularly the category of topics that the SBA Office of Advocacy has selected for potential research projects – offers one of the first clues on how this obscure but powerful office is likely to operate under the Trump administration. 

The SBA Office of Advocacy is a small and unusual office within the federal government that up until a few years ago largely flew under the radar. The singular event that brought them to broader attention among policymakers, the press, and members of the public interested in the U.S. regulatory system? Its sponsorship of a now-infamous piece of anti-safeguards propaganda that was produced in response to a solicitation of small business research just like the one from last Thursday. 

In 2010, the SBA Office of Advocacy sponsored a "study" by conservative economists Nicole Crain and Mark Crain that purported to find that in 2010 alone, federal regulations imposed a total cost on the U.S. economy of $1.75 trillion. To borrow a phrase from the brilliant thinker and social commentator Joey Lawrence: Whoa

It turns out, though, that the study was riddled with errant data, nonsensical assumptions, and flawed methodologies – all of which had the undeniable effect of producing the largest possible "cost" figure the study's authors ...

The SBA Office of Advocacy . . . Taxpayer Funded Lobbyist for Berkshire Hathaway?

by James Goodwin | July 22, 2015
When it commenced on June 1, OIRA’s review of the EPA’s draft final rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants launched a flurry of lobbying activity among a veritable who’s who of America’s largest fossil fuel polluters.   In just over six weeks, the White House’s antiregulatory shop has presided over no less than 21 Executive Order 12866 meetings, the majority of which involved high-priced corporate lobbyists seeking to dilute, delay, or block the rule outright. The log ...

Steinzor Testifies this Morning on Benefits of Regulation, Role of SBA's Office of Advocacy

by Matthew Freeman | March 14, 2013
This morning, CPR President Rena Steinzor testifies before the House Committee on Small Business's Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. From the witness list, it would appear that this'll be another in a series of hearings structured by House Republicans to inveigh against the regulations that protect Americans from a variety of hazards in the air we breathe, water we drink, places we work, products we buy, food we eat, and more. If history is any guide, most of the testimony ...

Thought We Wouldn't Notice: Blanche Lincoln Quietly Switches to New Version of Debunked SBA Regulatory Costs Stat

by Ben Somberg | August 12, 2011
Former Senator Blanche Lincoln, now heading the National Federation of Independent Business’s new anti-regulatory campaign, faced criticism in recent days for citing the debunked SBA study claiming regulations cost $1.75 trillion in a year. The NFIB used that stat last week in launching its campaign (see ThinkProgress), and Lincoln cited the number in a National Journal forum post on Monday: While some federal regulations are important, it costs the U.S. economy a staggering $1.75 trillion a year to comply with ...

Sunstein Denounces SBA's 'Deeply Flawed' Study of Regulatory Costs

by James Goodwin | June 03, 2011
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in mid-April, Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), was asked to comment on a much-disputed $1.75 trillion estimate of the annual cost of federal regulations. The number comes from a report commissioned by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, often referred to as the Crain and Crain report, for its authors. The $1.75 trillion estimate is grossly at odds with ...

New Congressional Research Service Report Finds Major Trouble in SBA's Regulatory Costs Study

by Ben Somberg | April 22, 2011
It's their favorite figure: $1.75 Trillion. Repeated ad nauseam in congressional hearings by members of congress and expert witnesses alike, it is the supposed annual cost of regulations, this according to a study from last year commissioned by the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy. Sponsors of anti-regulatory legislation like the number: Olympia Snowe and Tom Coburn included it in the 'findings' of their bill, while Geoff Davis, chief sponsor of the REINS Act, cites it regularly. It's been used ...

Presidential Appointee at SBA Maligns OSHA's Industrial Noise Proposal; Claims Ear Plugs "Solve" the Problem

by Sidney Shapiro | April 15, 2011
Congress charged the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with the job of representing the interests of small business before regulatory agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As an agency of the federal government, it has an obligation to taxpayers to get its facts straight before it speaks. Lately, it has ignored this basic obligation, most notably sponsoring a study that used flawed methodology to claim that regulations impose $1.75 trillion in costs every ...

SBA Defends Peer Review Process on Regs Study; ‘Offered the Study for Review’ to Experts Beyond the Two Who Actually Responded

by Ben Somberg | April 06, 2011
When the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a study last September claiming regulations cost the U.S. economy $1.75 Trillion in a single year, the agency trumpeted that the "report was peer reviewed consistent with the Office of Advocacy’s data quality guidelines." But the peer review file included with the study was embarrassingly meager -- comments from all of two individuals. The authors, economists Nicole Crain and Mark Crain, ignored a fundamental criticism raised by one of the two reviewers that ...

No Job and No Paycheck After Harvey and Irma

Tracy | Sep 15, 2017 | Workers' Rights

You Are No Theodore Roosevelt

Isaacson | Sep 05, 2017 | Environmental Policy

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