The beleagured Federal Trade Commission, facing wholesale cuts in its powers by Congress, yesterday was praised by the Carter administration as one of the regulatory agencies that best analyses and understands the actions it takes.
The administration's Regulatory Council, in releasing the second edition of its Calendar of Federal Regulations, said the FTC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Labor Department did the best job describing what regulatory actions they were planning, and the costs and benefits of those regulations.
At the same time, the administration said, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve System were the only two federal agencies refusing to file and discuss their proposed actions.
And, council sources said privately, three agencies -- the Veterans Administration, the Federal Maritime Commission and the Department of the Interior -- did particularly bad jobs in justifying their actions.
Asked how the FTC could have such an excellent performance in cost-benefit analysis and still have the problems it is having on Capitol Hill, Regulatory Council director Peter Petkas told reporters, "Maybe there's a correlation between the two."
Petkas said the FTC has become "a lightning rod for antiregulatory sentiment." Because of that he added, the agency seems to be going out of its way to prepare particularly detailed justifications for its proposals.
He particularly cited the FTC's decription of the costs and benefits of its controversial children's television advertising investigation as "one of the best in the calendar."
The council requires all executive branch agencies to supply the calendar with pertinent cost benefit information on all major pending rulemakings. Independent agencies, like the FTC, are merely requested to comply. Most have cooperated.
The purpose of the calendar is to help government officials, and the public, determine what is coming in terms of regulation, and identify and deal with potential conflicts and problems.