Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My theory about the Census form

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:36 PM Permalink

We just got ours and our immediate feeling was "Eff that. I'm tossing it." I mean it asks so many personal questions and while I'm sure the government already has most of the answers to those questions, they just don't have it all in one spot so why should I make it easier for them?

But then there's that ominous box on the outer envelope that says "your response is required by law" and I decided to do a little research, just in case.

Turns out, the census was only set up for enumeration purposes only. In Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, it says:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.
It goes on and on about representation, but the only mention of the census relates to enumeration and that's it.

SO THEN, I looked at the actual form and I noticed that the first question, design wise, is sort of boxed off from the rest of the blather.

And that question pertains to how many people live in that household. And that made me think, "Hmmmm, perhaps that's the only LEGAL question on the damn thing." I showed it to a lawyer here at work and while he couldn't say for sure, he said is sure looked to him like an argument could be made that they set that one off for a reason. It's just that he, being a lawyer, couldn't say exactly why without specializing in that kind of law. What he did know is that on lots of forms, when they ask you about your ethnicity or race or anything like that, those questions are ALWAYS optional.

Anyway, so I'm thinking, just answer question number one. IF they want more, they can google you.

Please note: This is not legal advice for heavens sake. If you think it is, you should probably hand over the keys to your car, all of your credit cards and anything sharp or dangerous in your pockets to the nearest sane and thinking person. You could do some real damage to yourself otherwise.



At 7:21 PM, Blogger The Sailor said...

Did you get the long form or the short form?

At 7:20 AM, Blogger The Vidiot said...

Apparently, the short form. There weren't any questions about where I got my income, etc. I was offended by this short form though. I can only imagine how pissed off I'd have been with the questions on the long form.

Not to mention, they didn't included the new classification of 'neo mulato'

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

I got the long form last census and it was VERY intrusive, wanting name, age, and SSAN of all occupants along with their occupation and lots of personal stuff. By contrast the short form I received this year was extremely simple, basically just wanting to know how many and what the nationality of the people living here were. As always on the question of race I entered American for my son and I and Decline to State for my Warrior Woman. (Any form I ever fill out asking about 'race' I always enter 'American,' as I am not from the any of the Caucus regions of this planet I would be lying to call myself Caucasian. If they don't like it, oh well.)

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

As a side note, another reason I always put American in or on any document asking for race is my strongly held belief that discrimination will never end as long as the government keeps collecting the information with which to discriminate. Maybe I'm wrong, but if that particular arrow is removed from their quiver it gives the guv'mint fewer ways to hurt someone.

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