This comment is a response to the recent Request for Comment on proposed Circular A-4, “Regulatory Analysis”. The Office of Management and Budget ("OMB" or "Office") issued the Public Notice to receive guidance on "conducting high-quality and evidence-based regulatory analysis". Specifically, the Office intends to assist agencies evaluating the benefits and costs of regulations subject to the review pursuant to Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.
We support the many important and substantial reforms to the regulation review process in the proposed Circular A-4. The reforms, if adopted, would reduce the odds of regulations imposing undue costs on vulnerable, underrepresented, and disadvantaged communities both now and well into the future. In this comment, we outline a few additional changes that would further reduce those odds: expanding the scope of analysis to include catastrophic and existential risks, including those far in the future; including future generations in distributional analysis; providing more guidance regarding model uncertainty and regulations that involve irreversible outcomes; lowering the discount rate to zero for irreversible effects; and in a narrow set of cases or, minimally, lowering the discount rate in proportion to the temporal scope of a regulation.