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another article on Census Bureau

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  • another article on Census Bureau

    Good news from the U.S. Census Bureau! "The 2010 Census will be a short-form only census," its website declares. It will still be longer than the Constitution calls for -- asking for "name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure" -- but that's a start, right?

    Wrong. The site goes on to say that the "more detailed socioeconomic information is now collected through the American Community Survey" -- an annual supplement to the census that is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

    The ACS wants to know if you "have difficulty dressing or bathing" or have difficulty "concentrating, remembering or making decisions." It wants to know how well your toilets are working. It wants to know how much your monthly bills amount to, how healthy you and your children are, how you get to work and how long it takes you to get there.

    But since the Constitution does not require participation in the ACS, you can just toss the 28-page survey in the trash, right? Wrong again. Those who resist can be fined up to $5,000, and fudging the answer to even the most personal and invasive question can led to a fine of up to $500.

    Rep. Ron Paul calls the ACS queries "ludicrous and insulting." He says the Founders "never authorized the federal government to continuously survey the American people. More importantly, they never envisioned a nation where the people would roll over and submit to every government demand. The American Community Survey is patently offensive to all Americans who still embody that fundamental American virtue, namely a healthy mistrust of government."

    Resistance to the ACS has been muted so far. The American Civil Liberties Union says it is not unconstitutional -- though all the Constitution allows is an "Enumeration. . . within every subsequent Term of ten Years." Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon says of the ACS, "Decision-makers need ACS data to make choices that affect our daily lives, such as where to build a school, place a new road, improve public health care and provide services for the elderly."

    [Humm... I thought these were functions of LOCAL government, NOT the Feds!]

    Funny how American "decision-makers" got along just fine for two centuries without it. In 2000, Steve Dasbach of the Libertarian Party appeared on CNN's "Crossfire" to debate Rep. Carolyn Maloney about the use of census data. Maloney said, "There are areas in Texas that don't have plumbing, and we need to know where these areas are so the government can address these concerns and make efforts to people. The census is about helping people." An incredulous Dasbach replied, "Are you saying that the politicians in East Texas don't know which communities in their area don't have complete plumbing, that only this once every 10-year census is the only way they know to find out where these problems are? I can't believe that politicians aren't better in touch with their constituents in knowing what those problems are to have to wait for the census." Maloney did not reply. The show's hosts laughed at Dasbach's naivete, and cut to commercial.

    Of course, this is all just the pregame show before the 2010 Census, the results of which will be used, according to the Bureau, "to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year."

    Right now, more than 140,000 census workers are wandering the land updating address lists for next year's big event. They are carrying hand-held computers for uploading the Global Positioning System coordinates for each address to the government's master address file and digital maps -- visiting houses this year in order to collect GPS data so they can find the same houses again next year. This is a dubious argument for another huge federal data-grab.

    Who are these people in your neighborhood, asking you all these questions?

    The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, was added as an official Census partner organization in February. That is the same ACORN that is under investigation in several states for voter registration fraud during last year's presidential campaign -- the group that may have forged "thousands of voter registration forms" according to CNN.

    ACORN plans to help find census-takers for the government. While one might expect the Census Bureau to be wary of people-counters who made up people for political ends just last year, the government agency instead requested that ACORN "help us highlight [ACORN's] innovation and hard work and share best practices so other organizations can learn from your experiences."

    It is worth noting that 10 years ago, the Census Bureau did not conduct background checks on its 3.7 million people hires, unless a preliminary name check raised a red flag.

    Has anyone ever completed the American Community Survey? I've never in my 45 years, and wonder what would happen if we refuse.

  • #2
    I need some clarification please. First, thanks for posting this!
    However, according to the census site, the fine for not filling it out is $100 with a $500 fine for lying on it. The fine for census workers using private info/not maintaining privacy is $5000. Where did the fine of $5000 that you mention come from? My husband and I have agreed to answer only the questions we feel comfortable with and that pertain to apportionment and take the $100 fine if they insist....however, a $5000 fine is a much different proposition! Please share the info on that large fine. If that's the case, I'll lie and pay a $500 fine if they find out.

    Somewhere I found the questions that they submitted to congress for the 2010 census. I'm not sure whether it was the actual census or the ACS..they want to know what you drive, where you drive, how many miles a week, what your morgage is, what your income is and a whole slew of other questions that are none of their business or that are available at the local town clerk. I'm not answering them! I have a right to privacy, not to be grilled about private matters.


    • #3
      I just emailed the website and asked them the same question and to show me where to find info on the large fine.


      • #4
        thanks "D" :) I've looked and can't find anything other than the $100 and $500.


        • #5
          OK EP, I have not received a reply on this (just as I expected). I looked up Title 18 of the United States Code Sections 3571 and 3559 that is referred to regarding fines and this must be where it comes from. Numerous sites are quoting the "up to $5000 fine", so I figured I'd see where it came from. To me, it sounds like all the junk hidden in the Stimulus Plan!!!

          Title 18 of the United States Code Sections 3571 and 3559

          (6) for a Class B or C misdemeanor that does not result in

          death, not more than $5,000; or

          (7) for an infraction, not more than $5,000.

          Here's the link: