What is bureaucratic red tape?


Bureaucratic red tape refers to required and oftentimes unnecessary actions that must be taken by a person or an organization to have something done. This red tape can cause extended delays in important tasks that must be done to better society.

The government has excessive rules, regulations and formalities that impede actions or goals from being completed. Examples of red tape include having to fill out forms, obtain permits or have multiple committees rule on a decision for relatively simple requests made by the government, corporations or other organizations. Citizens often encounter the hindering red tape when wanting to make amendments to a house or property.

The term "red tape" was introduced into the English language around 1736 when the British government began using red tape to tie legal documents together. The red tape convention was brought over to the United States several decades later. For example, all Civil War veterans' records were originally bound in red tape. The outdated system of record keeping led to the American usage of the term "red tape."

The more formal term for red tape is "bureaucratic regulations." Currently, there are several United States' government organizations attempting to reduce red tape, but they have not yet achieved their goal.

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