As a policy wonk, I mostly care about the overall impact of government on prosperity. So when I think about the effect of red tape, I'm drawn to big-pictures assessments of the regulatory burden.
Here are a few relevant numbers that get my juices flowing.
Americans spend 8.8 billion hours every year filling out government forms.
The economy-wide cost of regulation reached $1.75 trillion in 2010.
For every bureaucrat at a regulatory agency, 100 jobs are lost in the economy's productive sector.
A World Bank study determined that moving from heavy regulation to light regulation "can increase a country's average annual GDP per capita growth by 2.3 percentage points."
Regulatory increases since 1980 have reduced economic output by $4 trillion.
The European Central Bank estimated that product market and employment regulation has led to costly "misallocation of labour and capital in eight macro-sectors," and also found that reform could boost national income by more than six percent.