Nation: Paper Chase

The battle against red tape

Among the 4,987 kinds of forms used by the Federal Government is one that is supposed to be sent to city officials after a nuclear attack. It asks how many of their citizens have survived the disaster. Scoffs Florida Democrat Lawton Chiles, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Spending Practices and Open Government: "The implication is that even if nothing else survives a nuclear blast, the bureaucracy will rise from the ashes."

Last week, however, the bureaucracy said there was some good news. The time that Americans spend in filling out forms is actually not increasing, as...

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