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  • Tales of the Red Tape

    Tales of the Red Tape is a special series on The Foundry that exposes some of the more egregious federal regulations that have multiplied by an unprecedented degree in the past year.

    Tales of the Red Tape #32: Civil Rights for Bashful Bladders

    There are several colloquialisms for “paruresis” (par-YOU-ree-sis), one of the newer additions to the growing list of ailments supposedly protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “pee panic,” “stage fright,” and “urophobia,” among them. No matter one’s term of preference, they all refer to a difficulty or inability to … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #31: Charlie Manson for Hire

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought forth yet another excuse to punish employers: Conducting a criminal background check of job applicants could trigger charges of race discrimination. No joke. By a vote of 4–1, the commission last week approved its new “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #29: Drowning in New Regulations

    Some 120 regulations taking effect in the past year require enhanced accommodations for disabled individuals at 65 different types of public and private facilities—encompassing 7 million privately owned sites and 80,000 units of state and local government—including stadiums; convention centers; auditoriums; airport terminals; public parking facilities; theaters and concert halls; … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #28: Simplifying Insurance a la Obamacare

    Obamacare requires health insurance companies to produce a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) based on a government-imposed template and glossary. Below is a sampling of the requirements (70 pages) concocted by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury to simplify the task. The summary of … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #27: Don’t Dress Grandma!

    The bosses at the Department of Labor (DOL) have decided that federal wage and overtime provisions should not apply when grandma’s “companion” assists her with toileting. Moreover, said companion is exempt from the regulations as long as he or she sticks to playing cards, watching television, or engaging in hobbies … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #25: EEOC Disables Employers

    A high school diploma has long served as the most basic requirement for an entry-level job (notwithstanding declining standards in government schools). But now comes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) declaring that a sheepskin prerequisite constitutes discrimination. In the opinion of the vaunted EEOC Legal Counsel staff, requiring a … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #23: Internal Revenue Scam

    The straight text of the U.S. tax code exceeds 5,000 pages. Throw in the annotations necessary to actually decipher the thing and it swells beyond 72,000 pages. (Instructions for filing the “EZ” form run 41 pages.) All of which will yield a whopping $2.6 trillion in federal tax receipts (estimated) … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #22: A Real Waste of Regulatory Energy

    If you’re concerned that the Solyndra scandal is hampering other energy initiatives, worry not. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is moving right along with its review of urinal efficiency. Not urologically speaking, of course, but in terms of the ceramic catch of nature’s call. The federal plumbing police last … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #21: USDA's Affirmative Action for Vegetables

    First they came for the donuts, and few dared to defend partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Then they came for the soft drinks, declaring high-fructose corn syrup verboten. Now they’re after lima beans, peas, and corn, moving us ever closer to a national diet of tofu and kale. “They,” in this … More

    Tales of the Red Tape #20: The Outer Limits of Regulation

    The Obama Administration has issued a record number of costly rules and regulations compared to its predecessors. But one set of new guidelines, in particular, takes government authority to new heights. The moon, actually. NASA has instituted “no-fly zones” and other limits on lunar liberty to ensure that future “space-faring … More