Listen now (64 mins) | Nicholas Bagley is a professor of law at the University of Michigan, former Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and a former attorney in the US Department of Justice. He joins the podcast to talk about his article, “The Procedure Fetish,”
So many fallacies in this intellectual's thinking.
Asking the government to be nimble and innovative is like asking a chicken what time it is. Government dysfunction is the rule, not the exception.
What problem are we solving by giving regulators more pay and prestige? There's already a ton of prestige in being, say, a regulator at SEC. These are the most "important" people in DC. Has he never been to a DC cocktail party and heard how these folks are talked about?
Ironically he feels lack of regulatory empowerment hinders the roll out of renewables. In fact it is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who is responsible for the lack of renewable base power. And it is EPA's environmental review that's responsible for the high costs of capital on big infrastructure projects.
The FDA's COVID failure wasn't some sort of outlier. They didn't work over the 2020 Thanksgiving break to approve an effective vaccine. Blue collar retail workers work over the holidays. It's not that hard and it's also not some sort of policy problem. This is just how the government works.
He demurs on civil service reform when it's public sector unions who are the biggest impediments to holding people accountable.
He never answers the question of why we can't just have a legislature make laws. What was so bad about that model?
This dude has never spent time in industry to know how functional organizations work. His reforms are thinly veiled strategies to play out his authoritarian science projects without electoral accountability.
Sorry to comment on what he said on Ezra rather than here, but I have a a limited capacity for political podcasts.
1. Rascally I agree.
2. He is mistaken about how cost-benefit could work. It _could_ be the way that legislatures use regulatory bodies. They tell them the parameter's in the cost benefit analysis functions.
3. Most regulatory bodies ought to be able to imposes fees rather than rules. [Very clever rulemaking with fees for violation can sometimes achieve the same thing, but it would be better to avoid the cleverness.]
4. The marginal young person who wants to help their fellow-citizen should go into engineering or economics (especially applying it in journalism), not law.
Richard, you did a great job giving Nick the space to make a bunch of revealing comments.
I do wish you had delved more into Title IX rulemaking at DoE with him.
I also wish you would have raised public sector unions and collective bargaining in the context of civil service reform.
Thank you for a fun listen!
Amusingly he sounds conservative in ideology when he is defending things like civil service employment practices. “we must stick to our rich tradition of New Deal technocrat or else bad things will happen”.