Your Congressperson at work creating regulations to protect you from something.

And I don’t know why you would (wanna talk about hoarders), but here goes.

Since last week’s brouhaha about the SOPA/PIPA Act, which is now dead. Details about the burial are forthcoming in the BTA Act (Bury the Act) Act, which doesn’t happen very often in Congress so someone has to wake up a bunch of Representatives and/or their mistressesescortspartnersspouses…help).  This got me thinking–always a risky venture for me. Thinking. About politics. And things in general.

I wonder if the bling is too much. Other children at the daycare won't have such fancy scarves. They may feel inadequate. These feelings may follow them throughout their lives and they could act out their repressed resentments by running for public office and creating regulations against wearing blingy scarves to daycare. It could happen.

I wondered just how many federal regulations (FEDREGS) we have in America. Guess what? It’s a secret. It’s not a secret like in who’s a spy and who’s not? Someone knows that information; they just won’t tell (unless it’s politically expeditious to do so, right Val Plame?). It’s a secret because the number of FEDREGS is simply too complex to count. No one, and I mean nobody, can give a straight answer (or the same answer) to the number of FEDREGS that affect our lives either directly or indirectly…or both. Definitely not neither.

These horses don't live in America.

The following is only information about pages of FEDREGS, not actual numbers of regulations. Pages, apparently, are easier for government officials to report on than the regulations the pages are about. If you understand anything about our government, this should make perfect sense to you. If you understand nothing about our government, welcome to the 99%.

In 1998, Office of the Federal Register reported that the Code of Federal Regulations *(CFR), the official listing of all regulations in effect at that time, contained a total of 134,723 pages in 201 volumes that claimed 19 feet of shelf space, but the size of the shelves was undisclosed. In 1970, the CFR totaled only 54,834 pages. The CFR could probably fit on one good sturdy small Ikea book shelf, but it would have to be made in America.

Made in America. On Friday. After Happy Hour.

*This site is no longer being updated. No big deal. It only gives you information on specific regulations, not the total number.

[20 minute intermission to do some basic calculations and ask someone to take a few shots of whiskey just to calm me down]

Thanks, Steve! You slam that one down while I do my calculations.

I’m back. In 1998, or 28 years later, the U.S. government collected 245.7% more pages of regulations because nearly 55 thousand pages of regulations in 1970 weren’t enough. If we make an insane a simple assumption that the regulation-page hoarding-rate remained constant over the last 14 years and if we are ultra conservative (even though we know all bloggers are hopelessly liberal) and halve the rate of regulatory page hoarding because it’s 14 years not 28 years…are you still with me?… we should have about…

[20 minute intermission for more calculations, praying, and vicarious drinking]

Okay, I think we've had enough.

Alrighty then. 165,705.29. That’s the number of pages of U.S. FEDREGS currently weighing down about 27 feet of shelf space in almost 300 volumes of FEDREGS in some mythical place where the aliens are kept. Please remember to factor in the ever popular margin of error, which, in this case, is +165,705.29 and a -3.29.

If we (and by “we” I mean “I”) were talking about magazines, plastic bags (or paper if you prefer), shoes, trolls, chia pet gardens, empty pizza boxes, dead goldfish, or live cats, we’d be sending in the Dynamic Duo of Oprah and Dr. Phil in for a major public intervention. But this is the Congress of United States of America we’re talking about. We can’t have our regulation-hoarding representatives exposed and embarrassed. Again.

What would the neighbors think? And What about us–the voters? Our tax dollars (and by “our” I mean anyone who isn’t avoiding paying taxes by using an expensive lawyers who know how to work the tax code, which is about 4,000,000 million words long–I swear on a stack of 5 Bibles) are paying the salaries of these FEDREG-hoarders. If we went to the Capitol and looked into the windows, what would we see?

We need a regulation to cover the windows of every Federal building. Citizens, ahem, terrorists might be peeking in.

I’ve never been one to complain without offering a solution. It’s not polite. And I don’t think going all Oprah/Dr. Phil Tag Team on anyone, even the Congress, is a humane solution to any problem–unless you (and by “you” I mean “you”) are talking about people who pick their nose in public. Those people are gross.

I think that for every new FEDREG that gets proposed, some old FEDREG should be tossed. Recycle the paper. Maybe offer the regulation to a country that might want or need it. Donating used things always feels so good.

I even have a suggestion to start with.

U.S. Code Sec. 2074. False weather reports: You can be fined and imprisoned for 3 months for knowingly broadcasting a false weather report. I know how important the weather is to a lot of people, but I seriously doubt that criminal minds are so bored as to hijack a green room and orchestrate a pretend weather forecast.

See the white puffy clouds? You can't miss them. Well, sorry, you will miss them when Ms. D-Cup is arrested for misleading her male audience into thinking white puffy clouds covered the Western quarter of the country.

I’m sure there are many more arcane regulations that can be scrapped as new, more invasiverelevant…invasive regulations are conjured in the hallowed halls of Congress. If they (and by “they” I mean “Them”) don’t do something to pare down the incalculable number of rules we all have to live by (well, 99% of us have to live by), then we (and by “we” I mean the entertainment industry) will have to get all Oprah/Dr. Phil on their collective butts.

They're just waiting for Sweeps Week...