Here's another one for the file labeled "We can't afford to cut anything in government spending."
The effort needed to comply with federal bureaucracy now has a number, reports the Wall Street Journal. Americans spent 8.8 billion hours filling out government forms in fiscal 2010.
That's down from 9.8 billion hours logged the previous year, but the people doing the estimating are the people who create the forms.
Overall, the paperwork burden has increased by around 19 percent over the past decade.
The Office of Management and Budget said it hadn't tried to put a financial cost on the paperwork requests, but noted in its report that "it is clear that the monetary equivalent would be very high. For example, if each hour is valued at $20, the monetary equivalent would be $176 billion."
$176 billion to comply with paperwork! Imagine if just a fraction of that was returned to businesses and individuals how many new jobs might be created.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Publication date: September 28, 2011