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Obama Regulatory Czar Backs Off Call for Gov't to Attach Lower Value to Older People


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(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama’s regulatory czar has retreated from a 2003 academic report in which he advocated that the government assign a higher monetary value to the lives of young people than to senior citizens.

Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, on Friday testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the Obama administration’s plans for reviewing and reducing federal regulations.

“I’m a lot older now than the author with my name was, and I’m not sure what I think about what that young man wrote,” Sunstein, 56, told the House panel. “Things written as an academic are not a legitimate part of what we do as a government official. So I am not focusing on sentences that a young Cass Sunstein wrote years ago. So the answer is no.”

Sunstein wrote the paper when he was a professor at the University of Chicago. It was titled “Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay.”
“Many analysts, however, have suggested that the government should rely instead on the ‘value of a statistical life year’ (VSLY), in a way that would likely result in significantly lower benefits calculations for elderly people, and significantly higher benefits calculations for children,” the 2003 paper said.

“I urge that the government should indeed focus on statistical life-years rather than statistical lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people,” it added.snip
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