Monday, July 24, 2006

Oh, No, The Census Bureau Is Coming...

We just received a letter from the Census Bureau today notifying us that we're going to be expected to fill out the intrusive American Community Survey, which will be arriving soon.

We will be expected to fill out detailed information about our educations, jobs, household expenses, and more -- even whether anyone in the household has medical or mental health problems. (Isn't medical information confidential under other laws?) According to my reading, if citizens refuse to share this information they'll eventually find a census bureau employee on the doorstep, and could face a $5000 fine.

The survey is said to be 24 pages and take 38 minutes to complete. Will the Census Bureau be offering to pay me my normal hourly rate to compensate for the time I could be spending on my self-employment or family? (Obviously not...) It concerns me that the government feels entitled to take my time for something that (to me, at least) is unconstitutional. Whatever happened to taking a "head count" of the American people once every decade? How is it that the government is entitled to all the details of my personal life without a subpoena?

I find it deeply troubling that our government has construed the simple word "enumeration" in the Constitution as giving it the authority to demand at will that we share any details the government desires to know about our personal lives. I can't imagine the Founding Fathers would approve.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Missy said...

Wow! I think I'd be turning that over to my Congressional representation and wait for him or her to fill it out first.

I got the long census form last time around and was ticked to pieces! Very intrusive!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

My husband and I decided that at minimum we're going to talk to our representative's office about this. Our Rep. (Ed Royce) is a very conservative guy, and I'd like to know his position on this and if there's anything he's trying to do about it.

I don't understand why this form of the census (or long forms, in general) haven't been challenged in court on constitutional grounds yet. (If it has and got by me, I'd love to know about it.) The last time I filled out the long form I wrote that it was being completed under protest. I'd be really tempted not to answer the financial and medical stuff on this form, at minimum, with a note that my financial and medical privacy is protected under various laws. I don't understand how the Census laws can supersede the other privacy laws -- this isn't even a real census, it's something pretending to be the census. :)

Laura (a little steamed today anyway after a three-hour power outage in 100+ weather...)

6:29 PM  
Blogger CalGal said...

It's hot enough already and then along comes The American Community Survey!I created a blog JustSayNo.The American Community Survey to create awareness and activity about this invasion of privacy. The biggest problem is that almost everyone supports the ACS— even the ACLU! The ACS is a self-perpetuating house of cards created by self-interest both Public and Private, with an undercurrent of fear and darkness regarding the collection and misuse of OUR private information. Our only hope is ourselves and our tool is the internet. Please keep talking about the intrusive ACS and don't respond.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for your note.

It's interesting, someone from the Census Bureau was reading this post today. :)

We received our survey today and all I can say is that I'm horrified by the bureaucratic overreach into our financial, medical, and other matters. I've put in a phone call to our Rep.'s office to find out if he's taken a position on it. This is the first time I've actually called our Rep. other than when we were visiting Washington...

Laura

1:55 PM  

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