Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Thank god for Former Academics
According to today's NYT, civil liberties and rights may have a price tag (full story). That's because the director of regulatory affairs for OMB, John Graham, is moving towards the use of cost-benefit analysis for homeland security provisions. Such analyses would compare the benefit of security measures with the imposed costs, such as loss of liberty and limits on certain rights. Obviously, this is a tough question to get at. While there are some costs that can be quantified, such as time on line for security checks, there are many that cannot be so easily measured. For example, what is the cost of restricting Freedom of Information Act requests? It would seem that for many costs, the Delphic Oracle approach would have to be used. And, despite the shortcomings of guesstimates, this at least moves the dialogue to a place where we can have a rational discussion of policy alternatives. Using cost-benefit analysis will force policymakers to consider the costs of their decisions, which makes for much more contemplation of marginal utility and counteract some policymaking tunnel vision.


Post a Comment

<< Home