According to new information from the White House, finally released after a two year wait, the total burden of federal government paperwork is more than 11.5 billion man-hours a year.
That's almost 500 million man-days, or 1.3 million man-years.
More importantly, it's 35 hours every person in the country (on average) has to spend doing federal paperwork every year, on average. Add that on top of all the other paperwork people have to fill out with their employers, insurance companies, etc.
Time is money, and paperwork time alone costs the country almost $2 trillion a year, or about 11 percent of GDP.
As Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum points out, much of increase in federal paperwork has come in the past 15 months. "From September 30, 2015 to today, the cumulative paperwork burden has jumped by 1.6 billion hours," he says. "To put this paperwork growth into context, it would take more than 800,000 employees working full-time (2,000 hours) to complete a year of these new reporting and recordkeeping requirements."
Much of that paperwork can be attributed to the Treasury Department and the IRS. Treasury accounts for about 8 billion of the 11.5 billion hours of paperwork requirements.
Nobody wants to deal with more paperwork, but administrative efforts aimed at curtailing the paperwork burden almost always fail. Apparently, reducing the paperwork burden is less of a priority than expanding the regulatory state and further complicating the tax code.
Jason Russell is the contributors editor for the Washington Examiner.