The administration has come to the realization that not only does the federal government impose a hefty paper work burden on the public, it's also not uncommon for individuals and small businesses to find those forms confusing.
And so the executive branch says it will take steps to address the problem — not, sadly, by reducing the number of forms but by testing the forms to see if their intended audience actually understands them. The administration's regulatory chieftain, Cass Sunstein, explains:
From now on, agencies will be asked to test complex or lengthy forms in advance, by seeing if people can actually understand them. Advance testing can take many forms. Agencies might use focus groups. They might use web-based experiments. They might try in-person observations of how users understand the forms. From those tests, agencies will be better able to identify the likely burdens on members of the public and to find ways to increase simplification and ease of comprehension.
All things considered, this is probably a good thing, at least relative to the prior situation. But the long life of that prior situation reveals a lot. As Binyamin Appelbaum of The New York Times notes, it's sort of sad and hilarious that there was no policy to ensure form usability already in effect. It's telling, really, that despite how heavily the federal government relies on forms and paperwork for its operations, and despite practically endless jokes and complaints about the head-scratching complexities of those forms, no one in power ever thought it was necessary to institute a process to ensure that those forms were clear and usable.