Skip to comments.The Census has grown beyond it's bounds.
Posted on 03/17/2006 9:13:20 PM PST by Jeremydmccann
While the Patriot Act and National Security Agency wiretapping have received enormous attention and criticism from the mainstream media, another federal agency has been quietly gathering far more personal information about U.S. residents than those laws ever can. And this unreported project affects thousands more people.
Our inquisitive federal government has been demanding that selected U.S. residents answer 73 nosy questions. They are threatened with a fine of $5,000 for failure to respond.
When I first heard about this from a reader in Lake Geneva, Wis., I thought it might be a joke or an anomaly. But when another in Ishpeming on Michigan's Upper Peninsula received the same questionnaire, I realized something is going on nationwide.
These nosy questionnaires come under the friendly name "American Community Survey." But this is not a Gallup or a Harris poll; the interrogator is the U.S. government and has the power to compel and computerize your responses. The U.S. Constitution authorizes the government to take an "enumeration" every 10th year in order to reapportion the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to accord with the "respective numbers" of each state's population. The Constitution thus authorizes a count of people; it doesn't authorize the government to find out with whom you share your bed and board. Beginning in 1960, the 10-year census-taking significantly changed. The government began sending a long form with many questions to a limited number of people, randomly selected, and a short form with only six questions to all remaining U.S. residents.
The government is jumping the gun on the 2010 census, and without public announcement is already sending out an extremely long form, starting with a few thousand mailings each month to a handful of residents in widely scattered small towns that don't generate national media. Recipients can't find neighbors who received the same mailing, so it's difficult to avoid the impression that the project was planned to avoid publicity and citizen opposition.
The person filling out the new long form is labeled "Person 1." That person is required by law to list the name of every other person in the household, giving his or her birth date, sex, race, marital status and relationship. Other people can be husband, daughter, grandson, in-law, etc. Others can also be "unmarried partner" (defined as a person "who shares a close personal relationship with Person 1") or "roommate (someone sharing the house/apartment but who is not romantically involved with Person 1").
Person 1 must answer 25 questions about his residence and the size of the property. What kind of a home, apartment or condo do you live in, when was it built, when did you move in, are you operating a business in your home, how many rooms and how many bedrooms do you have, what kind of bathroom and kitchen fixtures do you have, and what is the market price of your residence?
The survey asks how much you pay each month for electricity, gas, water, rent, real estate taxes, fire or flood insurance, plus six very specific questions about your first and second monthly mortgage payments. There are questions about your telephone and automobile, and about how many months of the year you and others occupy the residence.
The survey then gets really personal, seeking the answers to 42 questions about you and about every other person who resides in your household. Person 1 is used like a private investigator to extract the information from everybody else, and warned that if anyone doesn't want to answer your nosy questions, you must provide the name and telephone number of such person so Big Brother can follow up.
The information demanded for you and every other person includes very specific questions about what kind of school you and each other one attended and to what grade level, what is each person's "ancestry or ethnic origin" (no matter if your ancestors came here hundreds of years ago), what language you speak at home, how well you speak English, where you lived one year ago, what are specific physical, mental or emotional health conditions, and whether you have given birth during the past year.
More questions demand that you tell the government exactly where you are employed, what transportation you use to get to work, how many people ride in the vehicle with you, how many minutes it takes you to get to work, whether you have been laid off or absent from your job or business, how many weeks you worked during the last year, what kind of a job you have (for-profit company, not-for-profit company, government, self-employed), what kind of business it is, exactly what kind of work you did, what was your last year's wage or salary, and what was your other income from any other source.
The Census Bureau warns: "We may combine your answers with information that you gave to other agencies." (Does that mean IRS? Social Security? New hires directory? Child support enforcement? Criminal databases? Commercial databases?)
The questionnaire promises that it will take only 38 minutes to answer these questions. Of course, that estimate fails to include the hours it takes to collect the required information from so many different sources.
Have never heard back; I wouldn't expect people who could only get government jobs to understand.
Don't comply, other than headcount to apportion representation. Screw Big Stupid Government.
Oh, at least give them the amount of information that was on the 1850 census. Your great grandchildren will thank you. ;-)
They didn't even get that much out of me. I said "Three people live here, one adult, two minors." I just kept repeating it until the guy walked away. No one ever followed up.
To all other questions, I respond "NOYFB!"
They cannot say that I did not respond.
"Now" a part of the Department of Commerce?
I'm not sure the exact date it happened, but here's a document from 1936 that shows it was, seventy years ago:
Glad to see your eagle eye is right on top of things. ;-D
Add me to the growing list of those who didn't fill it out.
When they came to my house to ask about it, I looked them in the eye, and said, "Two." When she asked what I meant by that, I said, "The Constitution requires me to tell you 'two' and nothing more. That's how many people live here."
They never sent anyone after me, but that's what I would have told them, too!
Next your going to tell me FDR is dead.
your = you're
Well, he wasn't when Census became part of the Commerce Department. ;)
I had a great conversation with a census worker in 1990.
She came to my house and couldn't understand why I wouldn't want to tell the government about myself. She assured me that all the information would remain private. That's when I informed her that while I loved Reagan as President, he had census data given to various law enforcement agencies.
She responded with promises of the great things the government would do with the information. I offered the truism that excepting law enforcement and defense, government was incapable of doing anything well. She said, "Well, the government of Person County just did a great thing. They just established higher standards for rental housing."
"That's horrible!" I replied. " I know some of the people who own that rental housing. They'll burn it down before they put another dime into it. People will be thrown out into the streets from houses they've been in all their lives. Or landlords will have to raise rents above what those folks can afford. How can you be so heartless?" She had no response to that.
I revived this old thread because somebody at the office mentioned getting one of those. His theory is that it must be an identity-theft scam, because the government already knows all this stuff.
Might be a useful rumor to spread.... ;-)
I don't think it's random. I have never seen a short form of the Census. I get the long form each time. I got a Long Form in 2000.
I get summoned for Jury Duty every year on the same date. I'm not supposed to have to serve more than once every 3 years, yet I get a summons EVERY SINGLE YEAR. My next door neighbor gets hers in that same week.
I just received one of these Surveys in the mail. Today, the Census woman came to my door. I don't answer to strangers, so I didn't open the door. She proceeded to BANG ON MY DOOR YELLING at the top of her lungs who she was. This started a fight between my dogs.
By now, my husband decides to get involved. He made her stand outside in the sleeting rain. He told her he cannot answer the survey because of his profession. She didn't know what to do with him. She proceeded to tell him that he didn't have to answer any of the questions, just to fill something out and send it back in so he could be marked off her list. She said they have a new marketing program starting this week and she's not allowed to work on it until all of her Census people respond.
I'm sure what he does with it is a much better use than actually filling out the form and sending it in.
I'm still not answering them. I will set five hundred dollars aside, just in case...
If these census takers show up at your house, where in the constitution does it state that you MUST open your door to them? If they stake out your house like undercover cops would, and approach you when you leave your house, do you not have the right to assume that they might be out to rob you and ergo, do you not have the right to produce a weapon for your self-defense on your property?
I think if more Americans used this tactic, these census takers would would be very hard to come by during hiring and recruiting. The federal government knows that it is being more and more intrusive. It just doesn’t give a damn. We pay their salary and quite well, I might add. It’s about time we show them who is boss (hint, it’s not them).
I’ve heard from several sources that virtually no one has ever been penalized for not answering the entire form. An earlier poster was right - the publicity firestorm it would start would backfire on big government big time. I almost hope they will do it.
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