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'Constitution is stupid,' argues Census worker

Posted By Julie Foster On 06/19/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled


When Michigan resident Kim Carey refused to answer questions about
her neighbor posed by a

Census Bureau
employee making follow-up visits, she cited her belief that the questions are “unconstitutional,” to which the enumerator retorted, “The Constitution is stupid.”

The government employee was

attempting to fill out a census form
with information gathered by proxy
— a practice employed when residents do not respond to follow-up visits. According to the national

Census 2000
office, proxy information may be gleaned from neighbors, resident managers or any other knowledgeable party over the age of 15.

Carey informed the enumerator that one person occupied the residence in question, but would not answer queries related to her neighbor’s age or race.

According to Carey’s sister, Shelah Balogh — who was present at the time of the visit — the enumerator persisted after calling the Constitution “stupid,” saying, “Come on, how old is he … 30, 40, 50?”

Balogh shut the door, and the enumerator, described as a young man in his early 20s, went to an open window and began yelling, “Is he black, white? What is he?” before heading to another neighbor’s home.

“I was appalled at his belligerence. I felt as if I were under attack,” Carey told WND. “It’s sad and scary that an apparently educated young American representing our government could show such contempt for our Constitution. Think of the countless men who died defending those ideals. It’s sick.”

WorldNetDaily contacted the Troy, Mich., field office for the U.S. Census Bureau in an attempt to identify the enumerator. Pam Corby, assistant manager of field operations for the office, was appalled at the behavior of the employee, but said there was no way for her to determine exactly who he was.

“It’s deplorable,” Corby said in response to the enumerator’s comment about the Constitution.

She noted that all Census Bureau employees take an oath to uphold the Constitution and that the young worker’s actions violated that oath. The bureau hires thousands of people, she said, and offices are required to hire anyone who passes a

basic skills test
administered by the bureau.

The test consists of 28 multiple-choice questions “designed to measure the skills, abilities and knowledge required to perform a variety of Census jobs,” says the bureau’s website. “There are five parts to the test: reading, clerical, numerical, evaluative and organizational skills.”

The test-taker has 30 minutes to complete the exam and may retake it “as often as required.” Prospective employees must also pass a security background check.

“Four of every five applicants achieve a score of 70 percent or better,” the bureau asserts, though it does not specify a qualifying score for employment. Veterans receive hiring preference.

The policy “totally eliminates discrimination,” Corby said. “It’s a good process, but it has its fall-backs [sic] when these things happen.”

Corby indicated her desire to “deal with” employees like the one Carey and Barogh encountered, but her hands are tied in the matter. There is no mechanism in place by which supervisors can find out what enumerators are in specific places at specific times, she said.

Corby apologized for the employee’s actions, noting the majority of census workers are “there for the money.”

Indeed, WND was contacted by an enumerator who admitted he is financially motivated.

“I do it for the money,” he wrote, noting that he earns $13.75 per hour and 33 cents per mile while on the job.

“The miles add up when it’s a rural area and you have to go back three times,” he continued. “So if a job address is a 20-mile round trip, and the round trip takes one hour (they pay port to port)” then the enumerator earns $41.25, he calculated.

“Easy money,” he said, though he believes it is “a waste of taxpayers’ money. We can’t work more than 40 hours a week, but mileage is pretty much open. It’s great part-time work — no pressure, fresh air, sunshine. Hell, it pays for cigars and beer, and on the way back, I do a little fishing.”

With sworn government officials acting under oath for “easy money” and a lack of accountability in hiring and employment practices, as evidenced in the Michigan case, the Census Bureau is losing credibility with many Americans.

“What scared me about the whole incident was how totally indoctrinated this kid was,” reflected Balogh. “This is the same type of person who would think nothing of going door-to-door confiscating firearms if instructed. It was a chilling experience.”

“At first, he tried to convince us that all of these intrusive questions were outlined in the Constitution,” she added. “If we had been at my house, I could have pulled out my copy of the Constitution and asked him to show me where it states that the federal government has the right to know how many bathrooms I have, or what time my husband leaves for work in the morning.”

Related stories:


Census Bureau asks thy neighbor


House bill would limit census


Judge puts brakes on Census Bureau


Census Bureau answers critics


Ministers recruited for census sermons


U.S. incensed over census


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