Buried Under the Regulatory Pile
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Imagine standing inside a giant hourglass with sand falling down on you. Little by little the small pile grows bigger. A few grains fall on top of a few other grains. You don't notice the heap until it towers over you.
Our regulatory system is like that. At the beginning, a few well-meaning, commonsense rules make our lives better. But over time the rules pile up. New laws and regulations get stacked on top of old ones. Layer upon layer upon layer of rules grow and grow until you end up with this, the cumulative number of federal rules from 1976-2009:
We have a situation where ignorance is the norm, because there are so many rules. "No one has the time to read all the rules," says Philip Howard, founder of Common Good, and organization working on legal reform. For all I know I could be breaking a federal regulation just by typing at my computer.
These rules touch every aspect of our lives: