Nudge Gives Way to Shove

by Rich Lowry

From the Wall Street Journal:

Cass Sunstein, co-author of the behaviorist bible, “Nudge,” took up residence at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, while behavioral economist Jeff Liebman is acting deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Yet another true believer, Austan Goolsbee, took a seat on the Council of Economic Advisers.

At this time a year ago, the order of the day was disclosure, transparency and light-touch policy proposals, such as automatically enrolling workers into 401(k) plans and simplifying student-loan forms. . . .

Late last month, Vice President Joe Biden eschewed mere transparency requirements for investment advisers and announced new regulations that would require retirement counselors to base their advice on computer models that have been certified as independent. Otherwise, the advisers would be prohibited from suggesting that workers invest in funds they are affiliated with or receive commissions from. In short, “nudge” has come to shove.

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