Friday, June 19, 2009

Could We Not Just Count And Be Done?

Census hijinks continue! The latest flap? How the Census is to tag same-sex marriages and if they will release the numbers. ...And not run afoul of DOMA in the process.

Such marriages are one of the newer hot-button topics and you can find a wide range of opinion about them, but that's not the point here: it's not hypothetical; such marriages do already exist.

In the past, the Census -- yes, the honored, respected, methodical sugar daddy of the Hollerith card United States Census -- has diddled the data. Fudged the stats. One year, they just "unmarried" all same-sex couples found (and one could argue that is exactly what DOMA obliges the Feds to do; once again, I remind readers this is about what is, not how you'd like it to be). Another decade, they handed out on-paper sex-changes to make things add up, which must've come as shock to any of the so-designated if they found out.

Where am I going with all this? Just here: Show me where the devil it says in the Constitution as amended that the Census gets to ask anyone about how many bathrooms their house has, what race they are (other than "Indian not taxed," anyway) or if and to whom they are married? You cant; it doesn't.

Let's have a look at the document. In the 14th Amendment, para 2., the earlier nasty compromise is amended to this:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Then a bit later on, we got the 19th Amendment (about which I still have my doubts):
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Help me out here -- did it say "marital status" or "percentage with indoor plumbing" in there? Or did it just say, "counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed?"

They'd have a lot easier time of it in Washington City if they'd just read the instructions.

But you already knew that.


og said...

They won't bother reading the instructions, because
1: The instructions remind them they work for US, and not the other way around, and they don't want to be reminded of that, and
2: the instructions don't allow them to do what they want.

Nathan Brindle said...

Yes, there are three people living here. Two of them are married to each other and one is a temporary resident who is unrelated to the other two.

Oh, and we have two cats.

Otherwise, bugger off, ACORN.

Nathan Brindle said...

Did you see the article about Rep. Michele Bachmann saying she won't answer anything but the number of people living in her home?

Then some bureaucrat from the Census Bureau says, well, yeah, but we'll fine your ass if you don't answer the rest of the questions. The WashTimes says that could be up to $5000.

However, the WashTimes must have misread the section of the US Code said bureaucrat provided as her source...the maximum fine for "refusing or willfully neglecting" to provide information is actually only $100. (Turns out the $5K fine is for employees or staff members who wrongfully disclose data from the Census.)

Oh, and if you were thinking about flat out lying, don't -- that fine is max $500. Cheaper to just refuse to provide it.

Joanna said...

Nathan: Nuts. I was hoping I could get away with just checking "Other" on every question. That includes age and gender. Of course, I've been writing in "Callipygian" for my race for a few years now ... the only place I don't is employment materials. I'm too poor to be that snarky.

Crucis said...

I got one of the "long" forms the last census. I just filled out the minimum leaving maybe 90% blank. I never got a follow-up call, nor have I heard of a follow-up call from the census folks from anyone in my circle of acquaintances who did the same.

If I get a long form again, or if there are questions beyond the usual headcount item, I won't answer them either.

MYOB, Feds!

Turk Turon said...

Names and ages; that's all they get from me.

I have no intention of providing them with marketing data that will allow them to loot the Treasury more "equitably."

stranger said...

As an "Indian" under Federal Law, I heartily wish I was not taxed. Of course, my mothers tribe does not recognize "half breeds" but even if it did it would make no difference to the Infernal Revenue.

Try looking up "half breed reservation" some time, if you really appreciate half A****Y.


Rickt said...

We got the long form in 2000 and I sent back names and ages also. I did get a follow-up visit. I told the census weenie to get off my property, I was NOT going to provide any information they could have pulled from the County Recorder's office (or any realtor's database).

We got a couple of phone calls too.

I'm planning on using a black marker over everything but the name/age section again next year.

og said...

Certainly, Joanna, you are the finest example of the Callypigian race I have ever personally encountered, my genetic makeup being especially well suited to noticing.

HTRN said...

There was a huge backlash over the long form last time, so this time the form is a great deal shorter - keep in mind, they can ask you anything, you're only REQUIRED to answer Names and birthdates on the form, and how many in the household if they show up(the reason why they want names and birthdates on the form vs. only bodies in the household, is to prevent double counting). Everything else is optional. Remember, the Census bereau also does data collection for paying clients, so by asking a crapload of questions, they hope to get info out of you.

Justthisguy said...

You are preaching to the choir as far as I am concerned. As a Georgia native, I'll just note that Bill Sherman (piss on his grave) had copies of the 1860 census with him when he came through, so as to know what to steal and/or destroy.