It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood...”I've read Amherst's Town Bylaws. I haven't read all the Zoning Bylaws; that would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.
--Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (Federalist No. 62, 1788)
It would take me a very long time to read the State Laws.
And there is absolutely, positively no way anybody with a social life and a full-time job could read all of the Federal Laws.
Does it have to be this way? Maybe we need insanely complex laws and regulations, because our modern society is so complex. Does it bother you that your neighbor owns seven cats? Pass a law! People not paying attention to traffic as they walk across the street listeing to their iPods? Pass a law! Worried about genetically modified crops? Pass a law!
Robin Hanson has a great blog post on the "regulation ratchet." It's a flaw in our system of government; I wish the Founding Fathers had included a stronger check on the number of Federal laws and regulations. If I were King, I'd tell the lawmakers that they had to come up with a set of laws that were small enough to fit into an 11'th grade textbook, and simple enough that they could be taught in a semester-long class to all High School students.
Then, if they wanted to pass a new law they'd have to repeal an old law to make room.
That's way too radical an idea, though-- expecting everybody to actually know the Law. How does that saying go-- Ignorance of the Law is a Good Excuse?
For a much less radical idea, check out the Read the Bills Act. It's a common-sense proposal-- that our lawmakers read the laws before they vote for them.