A Census Only Squirrels Can Love

I recently did my once-a-decade civic duty.  I mailed in my census form.  I even filled in all the “racial” information. I grumbled about it, mostly about being asked to check a box describing myself as “white.”  (Actually, my skin color varies throughout the year.  It goes from wintertime pasty to summertime farmer tan, occasionally with a brief stopover at lobster red.)  Still, I did my duty without too much complaining.

Until the TV commercials started cranking up.  There are depictions of towns celebrating an influx of government, [ahem] taxpayer cash.  School systems are saved.  Government officials plea for us to mail in our census forms.  We are told that the consequences of census forgetfulness would be dire.  And while I know that a census is called for in the Constitution, and while its demographic data can be useful, all this hype is way over-the-top.  Commercials cry out, “We can’t move forward until you mail it back.”  As if all government operations will cease.  Panic will ensue.  Evil squirrels will rise up and chew through the aluminum fence ties on our chain-link fences.  (Whoops… I just had a run-in with the neighborhood squirrels…. How’d that get added to this post?)

Based on the ridiculous commercials, you’d think that nothing would get done except in the immediate aftermath of a census.  Then again, we could use a little more of nothing from our government.  Especially when it comes to ridiculous spending.  I’d start by cutting the budget for nonsensical census commercials.

Seriously, to all my friends at the Census Bureau: here’s what you really need to know.  Four ordinary American citizens live at our current address.  Period.   You didn’t even have to ask twice.

Now, what to do about those blasted squirrels?  I think they’re just ticked off that they aren’t included on the census form.  After all, how will they determine how to equitably distribute all those acorns?

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  1. I have to agree that with our government saying it needs to watch spending, the TV commercials seem rather a poor choice. The ads themselves seem over the top because you get government and many don’t think that holding a census is important to them, so they try to make them feel like they are contributing to their own well being. I guess it is working, because the statistics I read were surprisingly high for returns…

    • I understand the reasons behind the Census Bureau’s approach… “What’s in it for me” works better than “It’s your civic duty.” Just a bit over-hyped in my opinion.

  2. springtimesoul

     /  April 13, 2010

    Too often, the me in “what’s in it for me” is the career politician or bureaucrat–not the me completing the census form, not the me paying the taxes.

    • … and that is a succinct definition of the biggest problem in politics today: the corrupt career politician just in it for himself or herself.


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