Obamacare regulations now at 2.8 million words

10/22/2012 - 2:26pm

Obamacare’s regulations continue to expand. At 2,864,094 words, Obamacare is now well over twice as long as the Guinness World Record for the longest novel.1

The record is the thirteen-volume novel, A la recherché du temps perdu (translated “Remembrance of Things Past”), by Marcel Proust which weighs in at 1.2 million words--a short story compared to Obamacare.2

Since we last reported the length of Obamacare regulations in February 2012, they have grown by 700,000 words.

Here are a few comparisons. The Obamacare regulations are now…

  • 3.5 times the length of the KJV Bible (830,314 words long);3

  • 5.1 times the length of War and Peace (560,000 words);

  • 4.4 times the length of Atlas Shrugged (645,000 words);

  • 6.7 times the length Obamacare statute itself—all 961 pages of it;4 and

  • 620 times the length of the U.S. Constitution (4,613 words).

If you line up the words the words in the regulations, end to end, they’d be 128,884 feet tall.5 That is 24.4 miles high—88 times the height of the empire state building, 4.4 times the height of Mount Everest, and even as higher Felix Baumgartner’s record setting 24.3 mile jump!

By our calculations, it would take an average reader 238 hours to read all of the regulations.6 That’s nearly ten 24-hour days, 1.4 168-hour weeks, and 5.97 40-hour business weeks.

In other words, if you were to start reading the regulations today, full-time at 40 hours per week, not only would you not finish in time for the presidential elections, you might also have to read for eight hours on Thanksgiving in order to finish before December rolls around.

Because the Obama Administration is several months late in publishing its report on upcoming regulations, it’s hard to say how many more words of Obamacare regulations we can expect.

And with the elections of the President who signed Obamacare and the senators who voted for it nearly upon us, and still no report, we cannot help but ask why the self-proclaimed “most transparent Administration in history”7 has not yet published it.

1 Guinness World Records lists A la recherché du temps perdu (translated “Remembrance of Things Past”), by Marcel Proust as the record for the longest novel at 9,609,000 characters. (“Longest Novel,” GuinnessWorldRecords.com (Accessed October 22, 2012) http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/1/longest-novel.) According to the Chicago Tribune, that’s 1.2 million words. (David Futrelle, Chicago Tribune, “All You Really Need To Know You Can Learn From ... Marcel Proust?,” (Nov. 5, 1997) available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-11-05/features/9711050282_1_marcel-proust-big-book-insights-into-human-nature.)
2 Id.
3 We calculated the number of words in the King James Bible (830,314) by using the “Summary” feature of Notepad++ on the ASCII text version of the KJV available at http://printkjv.ifbweb.com/AV_txt.zip. The preface, table of contents, and other introductory remarks were removed before performing the word count.
4 P.L.111-148 is 906 pages and P. L. 111-152 is 55 pages. We estimate them together to contain 425,116 words.
5 We use an average of 6.48 characters per word (including a space) to get a product of 18,559,329 characters. (6.48 charters per word is the same ratio of characters per word in the Obamacare Statute [P.L.111-148 and P. L. 111-152].) We then used the character to inches conversion calculator at UnitConversion.org to arrive at an answer of 1,546,610 inches.
6 We estimate an average reader could read at a rate of 200 words per minute. See Ziefle, M. (1998), “Effects of display resolution on visual performance,” Human Factors, 40(4), 555-568.
7 U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Justice.gov, “Open Government” (accessed October 22, 2012) http://www.justice.gov/open/.