Can you imagine budgeting for the costs of the 2010 census without asking just a few questions about procedures? Do any of the expenditures have to be justified? Of course the answer is obviously "no" or what we have been told to expect wouldn't be totally lacking in logic, would it?
What is the purpose of the census? To count the people, right? And if you were in charge, how would you go about it?
First off, would you spend the kind of money being bandied about to hire people off the street to go on personal interviews before you had eliminated those who could be counted automatically? Of course not.
What would be the easiest way to count I'm guessing at least 30% of the population? I'm thinking that the government has a data base which can be cross referenced and if they don't they should. At any rate, how about starting with all recipients of Social Security? Just count the number of checks sent out plus automatic deposits. Ta da! Retirees get counted plus the number of young people under 18 whose parent has died plus those on SSI. I'm thinking we'd be almost a third of the way to completion.
Second, we could kill two birds with one stone. I'm told there is a question on the long form asking how much folks spend on electricity. I'm sure there are no privacy concerns with our utility bills and Information Technology departments surely are expert enough to match randomly chosen "long form" participants with their expenditures. This would undoubtedly cut down on the time involved in asking and waiting for the research involved in ascertaining this answer.
Third, if there isn't, there should be a way to cross reference the enrollment of school age children with their parents who are already identified. There could be any number of ways to tailor the questions to encompass only children under 5 on the questionnaire so as not to double count school age kids.
Then there are the questions about kids who are dependents, college kids for example, who could be counted in college student enrollment data bases.
You see where I'm going with this. I have no doubt that most of the count -- perhaps up to 70-75% could be done without putting one person out on the street. Now if you're really concerned about the statistical information gathered such as how many toilets in your house, do you live in an apartment or single dwelling, how many cars do you have, what is your income, etc., etc. it wouldn't be hard at all to choose at random with computer picks those who would get the long form.
Last, surely some use could be made of the Post Office and other types of lists just sitting around waiting to be counted. Do they count convicts? Group homes?
Finally, then they can hire a much smaller army of folks to go out into the highways and bi-ways to get those really hard-to-count people they are so worried about.
Give me a break, guys. I'm thinking maybe the entire census budget should come under the stimulus bill since it looks like one big employment scam. You think?
Did you know you can be fined $100 if you make a mistake in answering the questions?
Really-it's on the census website. And if you deliberately try to defraud the govt. it can be as much as $250,000. Wow!
Don't worry, Big Brother is watching over you--