Ethics counsel says arrangment didn’t violate regulations
Pruitt’s Capitol Hill room was’ a gift, ’ watchdog says
The Environmental Protection Agency says family members of Administrator Scott Pruitt also stayed in the Capitol Hill condominium partly owned by the spouse of an energy lobbyist under his $50 -per-night lease, but that the arrangement doesn’t violate ethics regulations.
Under the lease’s unconventional terms, Pruitt was permitted only to pay only for nights when the condo was employed. Documents reviewed by Bloomberg, including the lease and copies of his canceled checks, indicate he paid $6,100 to use the room over roughly six months last year after being picked to run the EPA.
The revealings follow criticism about Pruitt’s use of first-class flights to travel around the globe, a series of expensive trip-ups including a visit by Pruitt and agency staff to Italy, and the installation of costly security measures in his Washington office at the EPA.
Critics, including the government watchdog group Public Citizen, have called for the EPA’s inspector general to analyse. Jeffrey Lagda, a spokesman for the office of labour inspectors general’s office, said the OIG was ” aware” of the request for a probe, but declined further comment.
” This appears to be a gift from a lobbyist to the EPA administrator ,” Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said in a news release.” Scott Pruitt seems to be renting at well below market value — from a family member of a lobbyist who has business before the EPA .”
The condo is co-owned by health-care lobbyist Vicki Hart, whose spouse, J. Steven Hart, is president of Williams& Jensen, a lobbying firm with clients in industries regulated by the EPA. Hart has said he didn’t personally lobby the EPA in 2017 or this year.
After ABC reported that Pruitt’s daughter McKenna, who was a White House intern for part of 2017, stayed in a second bedroom at the condo, the agency released a March 30 memo from the EPA’s designated ethics official, Kevin Minoli.
The memo, to EPA General Counsel Matthew Leopold, acknowledged that Pruitt’s daughter and wife also utilized the condo when in Washington, but said it was permitted under federal guidelines because rent was paid.
If the bedroom had been used for an entire 30 -day month, the rental cost would have been $1,500,” which is a reasonable market value ,” Minoli wrote.
‘Not a Gift’
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement that” As EPA career ethics officials stated in a memo, Administrator Pruitt’s housing arrangement for both himself and family was not a gift and the lease was consistent with federal ethics regulations .”
Steven Hart, in a statement posted to the Associated Press on Friday, described Pruitt as a friend from Oklahoma with whom he had scant contact.” Pruitt paid all rent owed as agreed to in the lease ,” Hart said.” My wife does not and has not ever lobbied the EPA on any matters .”
After ABC News reported the living arranging on March 29, EPA aides had to seek documentation from the building’s owners to prove he had paid rent, creating fears at the White House, said two people very well known the situation, who asked not to be named discussing a sensitive matter involving a Cabinet secretary. Pruitt was in Wyoming that day.
The EPA had to reimburse Hart $ 2,460 for damages after Pruitt’s security detail in March 2017 broke down the building’s front door, according to ABC News, quoting a person very well known the arrangement who it didn’t name, and the Washington Post. Members of the security squad believed Pruitt was unresponsive and necessary rescue, but he was find groggy after an afternoon sleep and declined medical attention, according to ABC News.
Pruitt, 49, has since signed a lease in a high-end complex on Capitol Hill, where rents for one-bedroom apartments go for as high as $4,100 a month.
EPA officials have defended Pruitt’s use of first-class travelling on security grounds, saying he’s been the subject of threats, although he’s since shifted to coach-and-four. Several of the trips were to Pruitt’s home state of Oklahoma, where more than aas attorney general from 2011 to 2017 he sued relevant agencies he now heads more than a dozen times.
In addition to criticisms about his traveling expenditures, Pruitt has been mocked for install an $25,000 secure” privacy booth” in EPA headquarters. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island mocked itas a” cone of silence” after the 1960 s spoof “Get Smart” about a bumbling American spy.
Read more: www.bloomberg.com
People act irrationally, a fact economists long dismissed. Richard Thaler, win of the 2017 Nobel prize in economics, has made a career of fixing that oversight.
In research that’s typically quirky, often funny, infused with pop-culture and written for a lay audience, Thaler of the University of Chicago has built the suit that human decisions are shaped by social context, expectation and temptation — not cold rationality.
Here, we run down some of his greatest reaches, a body of work that on Monday lifted Thaler to the pinnacle of economics.
Thaler co-wrote the 2008 global bestseller Nudge with former White House adviser Cass Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University and a Bloomberg View columnist. In it, the authors investigate why people induce the choices they do, looking at biases and the limits of human reason. In it, they attain the suit that while humans often make choices that don’t result in their longer-term well-being — for example, feeing unhealthy foods that lead to obesity — society can drive better decisions via “choice architecture, ” or by better coordinating the context in which people make decisions. To exemplify, they use the example of an actual designer. “As good designers know, apparently arbitrary decisions, such as where to locate the bathrooms, will have subtle influences on how the people who use the building interact, ” they write in their introduction.” A good house is not merely attractive; it also’ works .”‘
This book is an especially important part of Thaler’s repertoire because it’s influenced the Conservative government in the U.K. and U.S. Democrats.
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
Available on Amazon
2. Deal or No Deal?
Thaler and his co-authors show that Tv game show contestants construct so-called path-dependent choices in this paper: what happened earlier in the show influences how they behave as the program progress. In the game show, various sums of money have been allocated to 26 briefcases, and as the demonstrate progresses — as briefcases are opened, disclosing the sums within — she has the option to take a deal to walk away or continue to play, risking losing out in exchange for the chance at a bigger reward. They find that risk tolerance in later rounds varies widely among contestants, but it’s restriction among those who do poorly( eradicating high-value briefcases) or those who get lucky( opening low-value briefcases) early on in the game.” The relatively low risk revulsion of losers and winners is hard to explain with expected utility hypothesi and phases in the direction of reference-dependent option theories ,” the authors write.
Deal or No Deal? Decision Inducing Under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show
Available on Thaler’s website
3. Save More Tomorrow
Thaler proposed a prescriptive life savings program in this paper with the University of California at Los Angeles’ Shlomo Benartzi. The idea is that at least some low-saving employees with defined contribution plans are making a mistake and would be better off saving more, so if they committed in advance to allocating a portion of their own future salary increases toward retirement savings, they would wind up better off. Their experiment with the program at a midsize manufacturing company returned some encouraging results. About 78 percent of those offered the program joined, about 80 percent of those participants stuck with it through four pay raises, and that groups’ median savings rate climbed to 13.6 percentage from 3.5 percentage over 40 months.
This paper is important because it brings a real-world experiment to bear on one of Thaler’s big ideas:” libertarian paternalism.” The notion is that society should design institutions that help people to make better decisions, but without impinging their liberty to choose.
Save More Tomorrow: Utilizing Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving
Available on Thaler’s Chicago Booth faculty webpage
4. The Loser’s Curse
Thaler and co-author Cade Massey investigated American football teams’ player draft decisions in this paper, concluding that top draft pickings are consistently overvalued.” Rather than a gem, the right to picking first looks just like a curse, ” the duo writes. Buying expensive players, even very good ones, results in opportunity costs lower on the roster — squads might have to pass on other players that would, together, result in better teams down the road. “The irony of our results is that the supposed benefit bestowed on the worst squad in the league, the human rights of pick first in the draft, is only a benefit if the team trades it away, ” they wrote in the 2010 version.
In his 2015 book, a memoir-cum-manifesto, Thaler clearly states the main points of his career-long argument: economics needs to take human behavior into account. People give into biases when making decisions, and that human miscalculation can come with serious consequences. Both economic forecasters and policy-setting governments need to take the fact that performers are human into account, he argues. “The primary reason for adding Human to economic hypothesis is to improve the accuracy of the predictions built with those hypothesis ,” he writes, quipping that behavioral economics comes with the added benefit of being more interesting and more fun.” It is the un-dismal science .”
Misbehaving: The Story of Behavioral Economics
Available on Amazon
Many of us are closer to our 30 s than our 20 s. Shocker.
If you’re already in your 30 s, congratulations.
Because apparently, you’re now( most likely) financially stable, secure with yourself and feel like you got this little thing called life in the bag.
Till then, hereare six thingsthose of us born in the late 80 s still struggle with 😛 TAGEND
Bythis point in your life, you should have probably run a marathon, cooked a whole Thanksgiving meal by yourself and procured a cure for cancer while you saved a baby from a burning building.
But you know what?
It doesn’t have to be that extreme.
Being a good sister and friend, having a undertaking, inducing time for breakfast or even presenting up to places on time are all accomplishments as well. Don’t let society set so much pressure on you.
If you feel you’ve done something you can be proud of, keep at it.
You’re losing them, and it’s not stopping.
This isn’t necessarily because of a falling out or because you were seen in the same outfit together.
People are dedicating their time to their romantic relationships, moving to other cities, having babies and just living overall different lifestyles that don’t necessarily go in line with yours.
Just remember: People change and so do circumstances.
The friends that last are the ones worth keeping.
As for the ones you lose? Well hey, you’ve made some great memories.
When I was younger, I would always get so excited for them, even my half-birthdays( it’s a thing ).
But now, you realise get old isn’t fun. You start forgetting your card at the ATM, the cost ofyour health insurance goes up and you can’t digest the alcohol — let alone the food — you once could.
Then, your friends say to you something like, “I can’t get white-girl wasted with you on a Tuesday. I have to work tomorrow.”
Although you can’t celebrate like someone out of MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16 ”anymore , you can still make sure you’re surrounded by good company( aka people who hopefully know which storesto get you gift cards from ).
Remember how you could go clubbing Thursday to Saturday night during your collegeyears, and a good ol’ Big N’ Tasty from McDonald’s was all you needed on a Sunday to prepare for Monday?
Yeah , not anymore.
You have two drinkings, stay up three hours later than your usual bed hour and wake up the next morning needing two bottles of aspirin and so much better water as the Pacific Ocean holds.
Youneedabout five days — maybe more — to recover from simply that one night.
They say the best cure for a hangover is being for the purposes of the age of 25, and it’s oh-so-true.
Don’t get me started on your metabolism going down the drain. You run from people saying, “I wish I could have your metabolism” to feeling like merely smelling a doughnut could induce yougain two pounds.
The inconvenient truth is, as we get older, we have to at the least try to be healthier.
Just try .
Now, you actually have to set a budget because you can’t simply use your parents’ credit cards and leave the country for a few weeks once the charge card bill comes.
You have to pay your own bills, get your own damn food and make sure you still have enough for a roof over your head.
You want me to pay extra for guacamole? You want how much for this purse?
You start believing practically andasking yourself, “Do I need this? ”
You’re most likely always questioningif that shirt is appropriate for the workplace as well.
Shopping just isn’t as fun anymore.
You have to dress for the job you want, wake up early, brush your hair and bring your -Agame, all day, every day.
Unfortunately, being a professional napper doesn’t exist — at least for now — so focus on what attains you feel good at the end of your day.
Remember: No task is forever. Just make sure to balance run and social life as much as possible to avoid burnouts.
You merely have to remember that as long as you can merrily identify with the person or persons you’re becoming, you’re on the right track.
That’san accomplishment on its own.