My husband got the funniest e-mail a while ago. It said: “Official Business order #64587216Z5FE456J9. Cash Bailouts are Finally going out. Please register for your Official Stimulus package here: http://— The sooner you register, the sooner you will likely receive your Stimulus Package.”
I mean, honestly – what idiot would fall for this?
Or how about this one. I answer the phone and hear: “HOOOONKKK … This is your captain speaking!” The voice tells me I can win a cruise to the Bahamas for answering “10 simple questions.” I’ve never answered the questions, of course, because I have no interest in being a useful idiot.
Nearly as amusing was a survey I received seeking my consumer purchasing preferences for a variety of products. Do I use adult diapers, for instance, and if so which brand? This survey went on for pages and queried me on everything from my musical tastes to my grocery shopping habits and preferred medications. I thought it hilarious that anyone could be idiotic enough to answer.
Or how about this piece of merriment? Another survey wants to know my household income, my educational level, how I get to work, what type of house I live in, how much it’s worth, when it was built, how it’s heated, what insurance I have, what languages I speak, how many children I have and everyone’s physical, mental and emotional condition.
Ha ha. That’s gotta be the funniest one yet. I hear 3 million people received this one.
Oh, wait a minute. This was the 2009 American Community Survey, which supplements the U.S. census. And all the answers I wouldn’t reveal to anyone, much less the government, are required by law. Isn’t that nice?
The original purpose of the census was for taxation and apportioning political representation. But according to a NY Post article, the intrusive information sought in the census is used by the government “to spread around your tax dollars and justify federal bureaucracies; it can also be distributed to private businesses.” Private businesses!
How did the simple words of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution (“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States. … the actual Enumeration shall be made … every subsequent Term of ten Years. …”) degenerate into … the number of toilets in our house? What on earth does this have to do with representation and taxation?
Answer: It doesn’t. It has nothing whatever to do with apportionment. Just as our driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers have deteriorated into government-issued identification papers, so has the census deteriorated into a massive, intrusive excuse to collect vast amounts of personal data.
The key words in the Constitution are “apportion” and “enumeration.” You must enumerate (count) before you can apportion. Apportionment does not require knowing how long it takes you to get to work or what languages you speak, much less the bathroom specifics of your home. What kind of useful idiot would passively roll over and answer these questions?
People are routinely threatened with fines “up to $5,000” if they refuse to be useful idiots. And you can get fined up to $500 if you falsify any answers, so don’t think you’re being clever if you put your race as Martian or the number of bathrooms in your home at 83.
Ten years ago we wrote a cover letter to accompany our returned census, which said, “Pursuant to Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, we are hereby informing you there are four people in our household, two of whom are voting age.” Naturally a census drone knocked on our door shortly thereafter and pressed us to answer the rest of the survey, an offer we politely declined. End of story.
To be sure, there are few lone politicians crying in the wilderness against this kind of invasive bullpoop. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, says, “One can only imagine the countless malevolent ways our federal bureaucrats could use this information. … 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.”
And Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says the census questions have become “very intricate, very personal” and “the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
Shelly Lowe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Mrs. Bachmann is “misreading” the law. She sent a portion of the U.S. legal code that says anyone over 18 years of age who refuses to answer “any of the questions” on the census form can be fined up to $5,000. HOOOONKKK.
But it appears Ms. Lowe is the one who is lying … er, misreading the law. Title 13, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, Section 221, Part (a) of the United States Code specifies: “Whoever … refuses or willfully neglects … to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title … shall be fined not more than $100.”
That’s $100, not $5,000. I’d say a little civil disobedience is worth a hundred bucks.
So where did this $5,000 figure come from? Looks like that penalty refers to the wrongful disclosure of information by a sworn census employee. That’s it.
Remember these words: “Pursuant to Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, we are hereby informing you there are four people in our household, two of whom are voting age.” Fill in your own numbers.
While I’m not suggesting everyone answer their census in the same way we are … I’m just wondering what would happen if 30 or 40 percent of the citizens in this country did.