The Public Interest

The false dawn of the sunset laws

Robert D. Behn

Fall 1977

EVERYONE knows at least one government policy, program, or agency that should be terminated. For some, it is food stamps; for others, section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act; for still others, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Many people can produce long lists of inefficient, obsolete, duplicative, and unproductive-if not thoroughly bad programs that are candidates for termination. Consequently, the idea of a “sunset law,” a “bill to provide for the elimination of inactive and overlapping Federal programs,” is bound to attract much support.

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