Ron Paul Warns of American Community Survey National Census None of Your Business!

You may not have heard of the American Community Survey,

but you will. The national census, which historically is

taken every ten years, has expanded to quench the federal

bureaucracy's ever-growing thirst to govern every aspect of

American life. The new survey, unlike the traditional

census, is taken each and every year at a cost of hundreds

of millions of dollars. And it's not brief. It contains 24

pages of intrusive questions concerning matters that simply

are none of the government's business, including your job,

your income, your physica l and emotional heath, your family

status, your dwelling, and your intimate personal habits.

The questions are both ludicrous and insulting. The survey

asks, for instance, how many bathrooms you have in your

house, how many miles you drive to work, how many days you

were sick last year, and whether you have trouble getting

up stairs. It goes on and on, mixing inane questions with

highly detailed inquiries about your financial affairs. One

can only imagine the countless malevolent ways our federal

bureaucrats could use this information. At the very least

the survey will be used to dole out pork, which is reason

enough to oppose it.

Keep in mind the survey is not voluntary, nor is the Census

Bureau asking politely. Americans are legally obligated to

answer, and can be fined up to $1,000 per question if they


I introduced an amendment last week tha t would have

eliminated funds for this intrusive survey in a spending

bill, explaining on the House floor that perhaps the

American people don't appreciate being threatened by Big

Brother. The amendment was met by either indifference or

hostility, as most members of Congress either don't care

about or actively support government snooping into the

private affairs of citizens.

One of the worst aspects of the census is its focus on

classifying people by race. When government tells us it

wants information to "help" any given group, it assumes

every individual who shares certain physical

characteristics has the same interests, or wants the same

things from government. This is an inherently racist and

offensive assumption. The census, like so many federal

policies and programs, inflames racism by encouraging

Americans to see themselves as members of racial groups

fighting each other for a share of the federal pie.

The census also represents a form of corporate welfare,

since the personal data collected on hundred of millions of

Americans can be sold to private businesses. Surely

business enjoys having such extensive information available

from one source, but it's hardly the duty of taxpayers to

subsidize the cost of market research.

At least the national census has its origins in the

Constitution, which is more than one can say about the vast

majority of programs funded by Congress. Still, Article I

makes it clear that the census should be taken every ten

years for the sole purpose of congressional redistricting

(and apportionment of taxes, prior to the disastrous 16th

amendment). This means a simple count of the number of

people living in a given area, so that numerically equal

congressional districts can be maintained. The founders

never authorized the federal government to continuously

survey the American people.

More importantly, they never envisioned a nation where the

people would roll over and submit to every government

demand. The American Community Survey is patently offensive

to all Americans who still embody that fundamental American

virtue, namely a healthy mistrust of government. The

information demanded in the new survey is none of the

government's business, and the American people should

insist that Congress reject it now before it becomes


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