Monday, March 15, 2010

If I don't send it in, how will they know where I am?

I got my 2010 Census form in the mail today.
There is a proclamation on the front of the envelope that warns YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Which law? According to the Frequently Asked Questions, it's Title 13, Section 221 of the United States Code, whatever that is. They claim to be able to fine you $5,000 if you do not cooperate with the census, but view it as a last resort.
I wonder why it's necessary at all. The paper census seems like an antiquated notion from the days when The Three Stooges canvassed from house to house with a big book, asking questions. I get the feeling that the U.S. Census Bureau is one of those big government institutions that nobody has the guts to shut down.
For a government with so many budget problems, I'd guess that one of the first places to start cutting fat is with a bureau that counts people with paper mail-in forms. They tell me that my answers will "be used to decide the number of representatives each state has in the U.S. Congress and the amount of government money your neighborhood receives." Oh, you mean that money that our governor told us he was going to cut out of the budget? Sure, we need more representatives like we need another poop chute. I thought this was supposed to be useful information?
When you are born you get a birth certificate. When you die you get a death certificate. You need all sorts of paperwork to enter the country legally. We file income tax forms with the IRS every year (or we're supposed to - now there's a law for ya). You'd think they would have enough information as it is. It seems to me that a paper census would be the least accurate way to count people.
They don't ask a lot of questions. Name, age and race. I wonder how they count people with more than one home or what happens if someone died between compiling the list and getting the forms in the mail. It seems pretty random. It says to "count all people, including babies, who live and sleep here most of the time." Aren't babies people too? That's going to rankle those pro-life people - er ... babies.
The note they sent with the form said to "complete and mail back the enclosed census form today." It's nearly 10:30 at night. I'm not driving to the post office so I can get this thing in the mail today. Don't arrest me if I mail it on Tuesday, OK?
I'll fill it out. My name is Juan Maria Castillo, I'm a 78-year old Asian/Hispanic trans-gender and I live here and in my basement with 11 other people, some not related to me and some here illegally. Now, fork over that big government subsidy so my community can get clean drinking water.

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