Fun with the Census

theCL  2010-03-16  Government, Rights

Well ... I just received my 2010 Census form. It's only 10 questions long.

The Census and the Constitution

The Census Bureau estimates that the life cycle cost of the 2010 Census will be from $13.7 billion to $14.5 billion, making it the costliest census in the nation's history. Suppose you suggest to a congressman that given our budget crisis, we could save some money by dispensing with the 2010 census. I guarantee you that he'll say something along the lines that the Constitution mandates a decennial counting of the American people and he would be absolutely right. Article I, Section 2 of our constitution reads: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

What purpose did the Constitution's framers have in mind ordering an enumeration or count of the American people every 10 years? The purpose of the headcount is to apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives and derived from that, along with two senators from each state, the number of electors to the Electoral College.

The Census Bureau tells us that this year, it will use a shorter questionnaire, consisting of only 10 questions. From what I see, only one of them serves the constitutional purpose of enumeration — namely, "How many people were living or staying at this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?" The Census Bureau's shorter questionnaire claim is deceptive at best.

The Census Bureau tells us that this year, it will use a shorter questionnaire, consisting of only 10 questions. From what I see, only one of them serves the constitutional purpose of enumeration — namely, "How many people were living or staying at this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?" The Census Bureau's shorter questionnaire claim is deceptive at best.

The American Community Survey, long form, that used to be sent to 1 in 6 households during the decennial count, is now being sent to many people every year. Here's a brief sample of its questions, and I want someone to tell me which question serves the constitutional function of apportioning the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives: Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, a bathtub or shower, a sink with a faucet, a refrigerator, a stove? Last month, what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment, or mobile home? How many times has this person been married?

After each question, the Bureau of the Census provides a statement of how the answer meets a federal need. I would prefer that they provide a statement of how answers to the questions meet the constitutional need as expressed in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home owned with a mortgage or loan, owned free and clear, rented, or occupied without payment of rent?

Obviously, whether you rent, have a mortgage, or own your home free and clear, is none of the governments business and irrelevant to the "apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives."

4. What is your phone number?

Since there's no reason for them to call me, there's no reason they need my phone number.

6. What is Person 1's sex?

What is this, a dating service?

8-9. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, Or Spanish origin? What is Person 1's race?

I've never understood why those are separate questions, but then again, I'm not hung up on race. Not only that, but isn't this question racist in itself? After all, race has nothing to do with apportioning the number of seats in the House of Representatives. So what are they up to? Do they plan to discriminate against some people based on race?

Also, being that I was born in the United States and have lived here my whole life, I'm a Native American. Yet, they don't offer that choice. Hmmmm ...

H/T - Cafe Hayek!

The Unconstitutional Census Gestapo

[N]ow that we understand that the only proper “constitutional duty” is to simply count the people in a given area (not their address, gender, work status, ethnic background, number of toilets, etc.), then why are all these very personal and private questions asked in the first place? Why does the U.S. Census Bureau not only ask unconstitutional and personal questions, but demand that they be answered? Why in fact do these same cretins threaten anyone who doesn’t comply with their Gestapo-style tactics?

To answer these questions honestly, one will have to come to the unpleasant conclusion that we no longer live in a free country, but in a tyrannical and totalitarian state that demands to know anything and everything about us; where we live, where we work, how much money we earn, how much property we have, what our habits are, our marital history, our education history, and even your fertility status, along with many other idiotic and invasive questions. Depending on whether you receive the American Community Survey or the new short form, both of which are intolerable and unconstitutional, you are expected to fill them out completely. This year, the government is touting its new short form with only ten questions, but they have pulled a rope-a-dope. I think this is because of the growing census dissent. Previously, the long form, which is now called the American Community Survey, was sent once every ten years to every one in six households. Now the long form is sent to fewer people, but is sent on a rotating basis, and every year instead of every ten years. This gives the impression, and this is the underlying objective of the census bureau, that the decennial count is the new kinder, less intrusive census process. In reality, it is merely a smoke and mirrors approach meant to fool the public. My belief is that the pressure to complete these nefarious surveys will intensify and the threats will increase. This will happen in my opinion for several reasons, not the least of which is the continued and warranted lack of compliance by some in this country. I can only hope that the dissent will grow and become more than the U.S. Census Bureau can overcome, and that this invasive absurdity then would cease. I will not however, hold my breath for this result given the now sheep-like behavior of the populace at large.

The bottom line is this: I haven’t seen a ramp-up of this magnitude by the U.S. Census Bureau before.

I plead the Fifth!

  • chuck cross

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    It seems like everyday I read somewhere in the news of our government wishing to launch some new program or rule to capture data about the people.

    Critics brush off those of us who drop an "Orwell" on occasion, but I find it hard to deny that someone, somewhere thinks up these little policies that exert incrementally larger control over our lives, and I find it hard to believe they don't take that into consideration when formulating their policies.

    • theCL

      Our founders warned of these tiny increments.

  • http://wyblog.us/ Chris Wysocki

    Mark Krikorian suggests listing our race as "American". If "Pakistani" is a race (a religious and political designation which did not exist prior to 1935 yet it is listed as an example of "race" on the form) then "American" surely is a race too.