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June 21, 2023

Proposed Guidance Will Help Loosen the Grip of Cost-Benefit Analysis on Rules and Ultimately Improve Americans’ Lives

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legal Director and Securities Specialist Stephen Hall issued the following statement on the filing of Better Markets’ Comment Letter to the Office of Management and Budget on proposed changes to its guidance for evaluating proposed federal agency rules:

“This proposal represents an important and necessary step toward improving the regulatory process and ultimately the quality of life for all Americans. For 30 years, most federal agencies have labored under a requirement that they attempt to quantify in dollar terms all the costs and benefits of the rules they propose. As Better Markets has consistently argued, this duty to conduct ‘cost-benefit analysis’ poses huge drawbacks.  The process is unreliable, as it exaggerates industry compliance costs at the expense of enormously valuable benefits to society that often cannot be precisely measured.  It also soaks up enormous agency resources and it turns final rules into ripe targets for industry challenges in court with routine claims that the agency failed to do the impossible in its cost-benefit analysis.

“Fortunately, the Administration is proposing new guidance that will help make cost-benefit analysis a more flexible and accurate methodology.  While these changes will not uproot cost-benefit analysis in the rulemaking process, they will help agencies more accurately assess the costs and benefits of regulation, especially those benefits that cannot easily be quantified or monetized yet play a vital role in protecting and improving the health, safety, and financial well-being of virtually every American.

“As we explain in our comment letter, this proposal is part of a larger change in the Administration’s approach to regulation.   The Trump Administration displayed outright hostility to the regulatory agencies through executive orders that sought to stifle new rules and by appointing agency heads tasked with scaling back important safeguards and disabling enforcement programs. Thankfully, the Biden Administration has reversed this trend through its own Executive Orders and memoranda, which acknowledge the urgent need for strong regulation to address monumental societal challenges and to promote social and economic justice.”

Read our full comment letter here or click the button below.


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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