Monday, July 27, 2009

Reducing Reduction

So here I am this morning, filling out government paperwork.

Piles of endless forms, of which nearly all of them want exactly the same information.

Now, you understand, I spent my entire life in military service. I've had a high level security clearance for well over twenty years. I now fall under the purview of the Veteran's Administration. So, there are few US Governmental databases that my name doesn't appear in and there is absolutely nothing that the government doesn't know about me.

But still, I have to provide the same information that they already have in endless redundant detail.

One of the forms I have to fill out is one page long. It has ten pages of instructions, mostly disclaimers telling me why the Department of Defense needs the information and what US Federal laws the request falls under.

The last Act noted is the Paperwork Reduction Act.



  1. The last Act noted is the Paperwork Reduction Act.


  2. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, in order to file an expense report, I must now print out a copy of my electronically generated and sent plane ticket, and fax it to a central office so it can be scanned and stored electronically. I share your ... amusement.

  3. If only you could pay more to us IT guys and gals.

  4. This hasnt changed since at least Alexander the Great.

  5. Between the gub'ment, lawyers and the medical profession, we will never become the paperless society we heard about soooo many years ago.

    I frequently have to scan legal docs when they come in, file them in the case index, then reprint the scan for court or depositions. Why yes, that is what I'm doing all day tomorrow...killing another forest...thank you for asking!


  6. Or in the words of somebody else - "They'll perfect the paperless office about the same time they perfect the paperless toilet"

  7. Actually, I was told in 6th grade, the paperless toilet worked well in South America in the 50s.

    We were amazed.

    It has been documented that carbon paper does not exist in hell, so sextuplicate forms must each be filled out individually (Niven, Pournel - Inferno]

  8. Sorry Wendy, but it is the damn Boomers who have to see everything on paper and keep us killing trees. Once that large subset of parasites within that huge demographic dies off, you will see a lot less paper and more acceptance of electronic documentation.

    The only thing I print are scientific articles where I have to draw on them to understand them.

  9. It can also be the lack of computerization (and the horrible rendition of text on a windows machine). Hell, we finally bought computers for the councilmen about four years ago. One still refuses his computer, and we're still dealing with the "so why did you buy these" even though with reduced paper usage we've saved twice as much as the computer's purchase price by now. Unfortunatley, the damn things are hard to read on (which is why I copy the files to my even older macintosh to view them). For our meetings though, I still print out our agenda (because I take notes on it) and my meeting notes (because reading off the screen sucks).

    Just be glad, Jim, that you don't have a form to request other forms you might possibly need to fill out. Been there.

  10. John, I'm on the leading edge of Boomers, my world exists on a pair of 3/4TB drives.

    I also put the first ethernet in in my company, back when it was thick orange coax. Multiple server, multiple terminal trouble desk system. Only paper was a card to hang on the fixed device after it was fixed.

    I do use paper to edit documents.

  11. The Paperwork Reduction Act is clearly an oxymoron of 'jombo shrimp' proportions.


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