20 April 2010


First came a letter, announcing that census forms would be coming. Then three forms came for a one family house, one of which was completed and returned. Then another three forms came, followed by a pair of postcards. Is it any wonder that the government is broke?

More insidious is the stupid, if not offensive questions asked. It asks for race, which for most people only allows only for white or black. Yet on Hispanics it asks for a breakdown between Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban, etc. On Asians it asks for Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, etc. It is thus pre-configured with a bias towards these groups. What about everyone else’s origins? What about Germans, Irish, Italian, etc.? What about people who are multiracial? Just what is the purpose of these questions, and why are they so skewed?

The census is simply supposed to provide a head count every ten years according to the constitution, primarily in order to properly proportion the House of Representatives. Everything else is superfluous and arbitrary. Some have revolted against all of this by checking “Other” for race, or are otherwise uncooperative. I don’t recommend this because an accurate count is important. But there surely are more efficient ways of doing this.

Private pollsters, opinion, and consumer researchers are far more efficient at this kind of thing. Why not contract it out at a fraction of the ten billion that is being wasted on this. The only upside is for the administration in showing a “jobs increase” due to 48,000 temporary census hires. It is too late to do anything about this now, but congress should determine that the next census be a head count and nothing more. It is time to put an end to official group identity and the inevitable “grievances” that follow.

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