Friday, March 19, 2010

RWNJ martyr-wanna-bes out of luck

Now, you hear all these wingnuts nattering about how the Census is this vast conspiracy and they ain't gonna answer it and shit like that. And about how they're gonna defend their right to be an asshole cretin with those guns that they insist are gonna have to be taken out of their cold dead hands and yeah, they'll probably die, but then they'll be heros and shit.

Well you know what? It ain't gonna happen. You know why? Because the Census has other ways to get that info if you refuse to turn in your forms. First, a disclosure. I worked as a Census enumerator in the summer of 1995, when the Census was testing out the forms and procedures it'd use in the 2000 Census. Now, what was I trained to do when someone refused to fill in their form and wouldn't answer questions about who was living in the house? Well, first thing I did was go to the county courthouse and pull the property records for the house and see whether the person who paid property tax lived at the house, or was somewhere else. If somewhere else, I then contacted that person, likely the landlord, and asked who was living in the house on April 1 1995 along with who their kids and/or spouses were, and generally got all the info I needed. If the person who owned the house lived there, I still wasn't SOL. I was then trained to go to the neighbors and ask'em about Joe Schmuck, sayin' something along the lines of, "hey, we're trying to count everybody in the county so that we can get more of our money back from Washington, I've been having a hard time getting ahold of Joe Schmuck to find out who all was livin' there on April 1, do y'all know who was livin' there?" And I'd talk to'em about Joe Schmuck, get any info I could get about relatives or employers or whatever so that I could contact *them* for info if Joe still refused to talk to me. And then if, and only if, I couldn't get any info, *then* I turned Joe Schmuck in to my supervisor, who then could get info from the Social Security Administration and IRS and so forth on Joe Schmuck and Joe's family using some sorta court order shit they have set up for that kinda thing, but I only had to do that *once* in all the time I was taking Census. Otherwise, I always got my man, woman, and child.

Point bein', the government's gonna get all your info anyhow, and you ain't gonna get hauled outta your house by jackbooted thugs if you don't answer the damned thing. All you do if you don't fill out your Census form is annoy your neighbors and relatives and maybe your employer and make the Census Bureau spend more of your money digging that shit out of all the government records they already got. And it ain't as if the questions on the form are anything real intrusive anyhow, crap, as I pointed out yesterday, even the 1850 Census asked more questions than the 2010 Census. So you might as well just fill in the friggin' form and dump it in the mail, sheesh!

- Badtux the Practical Penguin


  1. I suppose you got $20/hour for doin' it, too.

    jXb the cut-rate trombonist

  2. In today's money, probably close to $20/hour, when you add in the per-mile reimbursement and the fact I was in a rural county (one that I taught in, actually -- Census *loves* hiring schoolteachers to do this in the summer, because schoolteachers know the kids and when the kids tell Mommy, "hey, it's Mr. Tux from the school!" it's a real ice-breaker). I was the second tier up, the folks who go in behind the first-line folks and do quality control (i.e. make sure they're not just making shit up just to fill in forms) and handle cases that the first-line folks couldn't handle, so I got paid a couple bucks an hour more than the bottom-tier folks. It was a nice summer job, definitely helped on a teacher's salary. And the fact that I was related to half the folks in the county and had an immediate answer to the suspicious question "who's your folks" in this inbred hillbilly place definitely helped too. That's why Census hires people from the community, rather than sending people in from outside... it gets them better and more accurate information that way.

    - Badtux the Former Census Penguin

  3. The same conservatives who just loved the Patriot Act -- remember, if you even questioned it, you hated America and wanted the terrorists to win -- are now terrified of the Census.

    Go figure.

  4. Just to give you a slightly different view of the census as an amateur genealogist, that 1850 census has a lot of info about your ancestors that you might not be able to get from family stories. If you get interested in finding out more about your great-greats, those census reports from way back then are a great resource for you. That's why genealogists want this latest census done correctly and completely so our great-great descendants can have some idea of who we are now. Of course, that's assuming we do have great-greats coming along in 100 years. (sigh) Who knows.


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