Friday, February 12, 2010

The Imperial Federal Census

This may be the first year that I actually get a census form.  A decade ago I was still quite single, quite transitional, and it could have easily been filled out by my roommate and I wouldn't have known.  Twenty years ago, I was still in school, so my parents would have.  Thirty years ago, I was still working out the whole alphabet and not pissing your pants thing.  And forty years ago, I was yet to get to the task of gestating.  So this will be the first.  And based on much of which I have related here (and based on the foreshadowing of the title alone), you can guess why I'm probably going to find some problem with a function that was begun as a mandate in the Constitution:
[An] 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. - Article 1, Section 2, US Constitution
In other words, the reason we have a census to begin with is to determine representation in the House.  Fair enough.  So let's look at the short form.  Question 1 is easy enough:
1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?
Fair enough.  That question gives you a number on which to base the representation of each congressional district in each state. Some states may gain, some may lose, but everyone gets their representation.  Also, it affects Presidential elections, as the numbers in the Electoral College are based on representation in the states.  But that's about where the happy agreement in the value of the census ends.

As we've rolled into this year, the commercials for the 2010 Census have been playing with increased regularity, with feel-good slogans like:

"We can't move forward until you mail it back."
"The census numbers tell us who we are and what we need."
"A snapshot of America"
And the phrase that gets me all torqued off:
"...so everyone gets their fair share of funding."

The reason I highlight the insipid phrase "fair share" is because it is the symptom of the mass collectivization that is the hallmark of the Imperial Federal Government (IFG), to which we send more and more money to be wasted, and from where all largess that buys votes flows.  It's a continuation of the idea that we need the IFG to fund our schools, fix our streets, improve our communities, provide jobs, provide health care, regulate our food, save us from the weather, regulate our TV,  etc, etc, etc.  So the reason to fill out the census is to get money for the states and local communities now?

I'll stop short of going with the Big Brother theme, although this is along the general lines of that.  Now if I'm asking for something specifically from the federal government (that juicy stimulus cash, for example), or discharging a required civic duty (the unholy tax filing mess), then I understand the need to file information to comply with that .  But to comply with a government-sanctioned fishing expedition into my life for the purpose of knowing who I am, what I make, my address and phone number, race, sex, and age, with the only stated reason being getting my "fair share" of cash for my community?

Fuck that.

I've given tons of information on reams of paper in every single way.  If the feds have to send papers out to pump me for info again, I don't see any logic in complying, no matter the president.

However, there is a little matter of federal law:
Do I have to talk to the census taker?
Yes. Your participation in the 2010 Census is vital and required by law (Section 221 of Title 13, Chapter 7, United States Code).  However, rather than rely on criminal charges, the Census Bureau is very successful in getting participation by explaining the importance of the questions we ask and how the information benefits our communities.
So after considering the possible penalties, the benefits of giving a big GFY to the feds when they come a'callin', and the chances to have a really neat post, I have decided on my course of action.  As a disclaimer, I advise no one to do what I am going to do, as it does involve breaking federal law.

When I get my shiny new census form (maybe even the unholy long form), I will promptly answer question number one:  3.  I will then return the rest of the form with null answers to every other question.

When the census worker comes to ask for the information, I shall reiterate the number of people residing here.  I will also consent to them filling out any information that they can observe, but I will not volunteer that information.  I will be kind and courteous, but will explain my position.

If they return with bluster, I shall kindly return it in kind.

Actually, I've thought briefly what I would do if I were one of the census workers.  It would probably be a half-assed asking of the questions, with little effort or concern if anyone really answers.  And since I'd be a federal bitch, I'd get paid no matter how much I sucked.  Unless I failed to fill out my own form of course.   But the job would probably end before that paperwork made it down the pike.

So, in the end, the feds can send their dogs.  But if they find a large part of the population friendly but uncooperative, then perhaps it's a small step in reminding the IFG who is really in charge.


12 comments:

rockync said...

The last time the census came, I filled in the number of people in my household and where it asked my race, I filled in "human."
A few weeks later I received a call from a census worker who wanted to do the long form with me. I got the whole speil about how this would determine how much money my community received, blah, blah, blah.
I politely declined to answer beyond my original answer and he then intimated that I would be guilty of breaking the law.
What I told him was, "Don't you threaten me! My legal obligation begins and ends with supplying you the number of people in my household. As a bonus, I'll give you our ages (which I rattled off) and that is the end of this conversation. Call me again and I'll file charges against you fro harassment."
Never heard another word. Hopefully I'm on their do not call list.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

R. M. E.

TAO said...

Well, looky there Patrick....

A Liberal like Rocky does the same thing that you, a libertarian does....

I will say that I filled in every single box of information as requested....

...I will also acknowledge that I and my wife are probably the only gay American eskimo couple in Kentucky with 8 kids....

rockync said...

LOL, TAO! They have some gay eskimo in Kentucky and a crazy human in North Carolina!
By comparison, Patrick will look sane and rational...

Jerry Critter said...

That is exactly what I did 10 years ago. They came to my door several times and each time I told them only the number of people living here. Unfortunately, we had an adult child living with us at the time and they caught him at home when I was out. He answered their questions.

This year he is not here.

Pamela D. Hart said...

ROFLMAO @ Tao!!

Rocky: I've been discussing this issue in great detail with my husband and we both have agreed that we are only giving the number and ages of those in our household. I was going to tell them that we are "white" but I love the "human" answer and believe I will use that one!

Patrick: I've been doing some research of my own on the census and will be posting it shortly. I'm not fond of some of the questions they are asking on the long form. I don't know whether I'll get hit with a short or long form this year but either way I'm sure they will call me and come to my house as I'm only giving them what I BELIEVE they actually NEED.

TAO said...

Critter...may we inquire if this other adult human is still living just at another venue this year?

TAO said...

If I get the long form this year I am going to let my wife give them the answers over the phone...

That should tie up on census takers time for at least a whole day, give them such a back log, and give them more than enough data especially stuff they never imagined they would hear...

Jerry Critter said...

TAO...Yes, you may inquire.

What?

OH!

Yes, he is still living, but at another abode.

TAO said...

Critter,

I am relieved...

Must be watching too many Sopranos reruns...

Jerry Critter said...

TAO,
LOL!

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