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The Day The U.S. Government Required A Survey

Community Survey 2
(Dan Peters/KSOO)

First correspondence was a postcard. Telling me there would be a second notice. This ought to be good, I thought. Essentially, the exercise was to make sure I wouldn’t miss an upcoming survey that I or someone in my household was required to take.

Next came the envelope with the full explanation of what was required…by law. The U. S. Census Bureau is the organization administrating the survey. In their cover letter, the reasoning for getting my information is as follows:

This survey collects critical up-to-date information used to meet the needs of communities across the United States. For example, results from this survey are used to decide where new schools, hospitals and fire stations are needed. This information also helps communities plan for the kinds of emergency situations that might affect you and your neighbors, such as floods and other natural disasters.

I filled out the survey online to save the Feds from mailing a paper copy. The estimated time to complete the survey was 40 minutes. The information asked for names, ages, race, marital history, education levels and physical condition of all the people in the household…in the first section.

This probe also wanted to know a general outline of my house such as number of bedrooms and number of rooms that are not bathrooms. I also needed to tell them an estimated retail value of the house.

Accompanying the cover letter and pass key was a brochure with Frequently Asked Questions. I have a few questions and one of them being, “Will the Census Bureau keep my information confidential?” The answer is according to the literature is, “Yes.” The corresponding U.S. Code title and section is listed along with the penalty for a Census Bureau employee who violates the code.

This question of mine did not make the brochure. “Don’t they have access to all this stuff already?” Maybe the fine folks at the Census Bureau have a little more integrity than those with the Internal Revenue Service or the National Security Agency. Right about now my trust level with Federal agencies in general is about zero. Maybe it’s less than zero. The wildest imaginary scene I can render involves a person in a suit darkening my door because of an inaccurate survey entry.

Consider this a survey filed under the protection of Divine Providence.

NEXT: GOVERNOR CALLS OFF SESSION

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