Cut the Red Tape

What was said? “Why is she putting me through all this red tape?”

Did someone really say that? Yes – when asking a colleague for information on a program and the answer kept coming in piecemeal!

What does it mean?  Red tape refers to a “roadblock” … or something “off limits.”

Origin: 16th century Spain where King Charles V used to put a red leather string around important documents that needed to stand out and be discussed. The idea is that they remained bound even after discussion – held tight together. Many countries had copied the Spanish Empire tradition of using red tape / string including the US Government. Since the practice was done by the government, it was considered a level of bureaucracy of adding “red tape” so the concept of cutting the red tape refers to reducing the level of bureaucracy or government involvement.


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Filed under Business Sayings, Idiom, Idioms, Phrases, Sayings

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