Friday, July 29, 2005

PSA: Just say "no" to government nosiness

The federal government is authorized by the Constitution to conduct a census every ten years, for the purpose of figuring out how many people live where for the apportionment of seats in the US House of Representatives. And, in terms of investigating the population as a whole, that is all the federal government is authorized to do: Count heads.

It's not authorized to poke into how many people have what skin color.

It's not authorized to hector you for information on your religious beliefs.

Or your income.

Or your occupation.

Or anything else.

It is authorized to count how many people live where in America. That's it. That's all. Period.

Over the years, however, the Bureau of the Census has taken to distributing detailed questionnaires and getting persnickety when people decline to discuss their private business. The latest iteration of this stupid government trick is the American Community Survey -- a 24-page laundry list which is eventually supposed to replace the Census Bureau's "long form" (which shouldn't even exist -- the required, and the permitted census would fit on an index card, as it would include only address and number of residents).

I don't know about you, but when next the census taker knocks on my door, he'll get precisely the information he's entitled to and not one word more. But why should taxpayers be picking up the expense of even printing the illegal "American Community Survey?" And why should those who don't read blogs like this one be falsely led to believe that they are under any obligation whatsoever to fill any of it out?

Here's a petition intended to set things right. If you'd rather the government minded its own business instead of yours, drop by and sign.

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