The Census Is Still In Trouble

The U.S. right has had a long-running battle against the U.S. Census. Some context from five years ago:

These are the same Republicans who have no problem with the massive surveillance state. At this point, it’s practically legal for the NSA to stick a spy satellite up your ass. No problem with the massive data mining by corporations of your internet use–and which can then be sold on to the government (there are security companies that do this, so I should probably write is, not can). All of this with virtually no oversight or control.

But, no, the real threat is an anonymous survey that provides useful information for businesses, local and state governments, and policy makers. A survey which has asked these supposedly intrusive questions for decades. That is the cold, dead hand of totalitarianism.

I’ve given up on even marginal consistency by movement conservatives, so I’m not surprised at all. But what we are witnessing is government by paranoiacs: faced with real threats to our privacy and freedom, conservatives are fixated on the Census. It is every bit as insane as the fear of light bulb vigilantes or any of the other Agenda 21 paranoia.

At this point, movement conservatism can no longer be described as an ideology, but only as a mass public psychosis. It is as crazy and unhinged as any rant by the occasional mentally ill person on the subway. Show them compassion if you will, but, for Intelligent Designer’s sake, do not let them run anything.

Should’ve listened to the Mad Biologist. Anyway, five years later and here we are (boldface mine):

The spending bill gives the U.S. Census Bureau three options to prepare for the next national census—and lobbyists say none of them is attractive.

On paper, the bureau’s $100 million increase, to $1.47 billion, looks generous. But the Obama administration had requested $1.63 billion because the decennial head count in 2020 requires a huge spending ramp-up starting this year. And what congressional leaders have agreed on falls far short of what’s needed to do the job right and hold down costs, says Phil Sparks, a former Census official who is now co-director of The Census Project in Washington, D.C.

“One option is to revert to the pen and pencil census” used in 2010 instead of the increased reliance on electronic data gathering, Sparks says. But that will cost an additional $5 billion, he notes—all the savings that Census officials have promised to deliver. “The second option is to cut back on other surveys that the Census Bureau conducts, including the ongoing American Community Survey and this year’s National Economic Census [conducted every 5 years]. The third option is to cut the end-to-end test planned for next year” to make sure all of the many elements are working smoothly.

The Census Bureau could limp along on a tight 2017 budget if it were assured a big increase in 2018, Sparks says, but Trump’s preliminary budget for 2018 has proposed flat funding. “That’s more than disappointing,” Sparks says. “It’s totally inadequate. And if it comes to pass, we’re headed toward the possibility of a 2020 census that is not fair and not accurate.”

That their paranoia about the Census coincides with the happenstance of undercounting–which will mean underfunding Democratic areas and constituents–is accidental I’m sure.

Just another example of the Republican alliance between batshitloonitarians and the cynical.

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