Joan Claybrook

Joan Claybrook is president of the nonprofit consumer group Public Citizen and former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Recent Articles

Costly Mistake

When it comes to regulating business, the Bush administration insists that cost-benefit analyses are not simply useful but central to its decision-making process. But the president did not insist on his aides performing that kind of analysis before deciding to invade Iraq. The reasons why illustrate many of the fallacies in this approach to regulation and suggest that the concept is far less wise than the administration and its allies believe. Few object to cost-benefit analyses being considered as part of the regulatory process. If there are two equally effective ways to save 100 lives, and one costs five times as much as the other, common sense dictates which one to choose. Before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for example, enacts a new standard for worker exposure to a toxic chemical, it should have a general idea of how many lives will be saved and a ballpark estimate of the cost to industry. But cost-benefit fundamentalists have something much more elaborate...

Who Killed Campaign Finance Reform? (and How To Revive It)

On October 17, The American Prospect cosponsored a conference on campaign finance reform at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Only weeks earlier, reform legislation had died in Congress. Participants in the conference included representatives of public interest organizations and both Democrats and Republicans; the conference received financial support from the Arca, Schumann, and Joyce Foundations, and Alida R. Messinger. Here we present the views of Joan Claybrook and those of Ellen Miller ; forthcoming issues will carry additional articles. P ress the C ongress J oan C laybrook W ith the election of Bill Clinton and a large contingent of new members of Congress who ran on a government "reform" platform, there was great hope that the first significant reforms of the campaign finance system in 20 years would pass. But instead of a White House signing ceremony, we see hopes for this year dashed and spending in the 1994 elections soaring to new heights. What happened, and what can...