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Census 1, Jerry Day 0

As a census enumerator, my curiosity was piqued when my attention was directed to this video made by Jerry Day. In it, he makes certain claims about the Census bureau and its employees. I left a comment at his video site, but since it is awaiting moderation, I have sincere doubts that dissenting voices will be allowed to be heard.

My voice will be heard here. Day is wrong, pure and simple, and he's making false statements, misleading people, and causing damage at a national, local and personal level.

Over at FactCheck.org, the short answer is: "A widely circulated anti-Census commentary makes several false claims. The law requires truthful answers and states that they will be kept confidential. Courts have upheld its constitutionality." The full article is here

Among other things, Day claims "They will be asking you about your disabilities, how much income you receive, where you get your income from, your housing costs, how many cars you own, how much you pay for insurance, if you receive food stamps, how much you pay for utilities. They’ll be asking you things that you would not tell a stranger."

Jackson countered,

"...the 2010 Census form asks for none of that. It asks only how many people live at the address, whether the home is rented or owned and whether it has a mortgage, and the telephone number of the residence. It asks seven additional questions about each individual at the address, including name, sex, age and date of birth, race and whether the person is of Hispanic origin or not, and whether that person sometimes lives or stays at another address."

I can certify what Brooks Jackson has written, as the enumeration form I use is before me as I type this. I express gratitude for the clarifications, backed up by verifiable sources.

Telling people that they don't have to answer the questions is like telling them they don't have to pay income taxes. Both statements are patently wrong, and show how out of touch with reality and irresponsible this man is. Although refusing to answer the census questions is indeed punishable by law, I have never heard of penalties being applied, ever. if someone refuses to answer any or all of the questions we are following up on, we thank them for their time and move on. The census enumerators out there are not pesky or pushy, but are trained to be courteous and sensitive in gathering the information that the law of the land authorizes them to collect.

Day's exhortation to people who view his disingenuous video to refuse, challenge and otherwise harass enumerators is like asking people to make a deliberate effort to be rude to cashiers at Wal-Mart because you happen to disagree with the company's global marketing strategy. If Day has complaints about the Census, let him complain to Congress who wrote the laws, or to the courts which have upheld them.

Title 18, Section 3571 allows for fines of up to $5,000 for refusing to answer census questions. I'd like to see this fine applied to Day on behalf of each individual he has influenced to refuse enumeration. If only it could be so.

[Edit]: Here is another related article at PolitiFact.com.


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Comments

oceansedge
May. 15th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
it truly amazes and astounds me - the LARGE sector of society that lives in a paranoid paradigm. Good lord we're gonna run out of tin foil soon.

Honestly censuses and the reasons for their uses has existed as long as man himself. People have NO idea how big a disservice they do to themselves by refusing to be enumerated.

But honestly there does seem to be a largish culture of 'we cannot trust the government, the government is out to get us!" especially within the U.S.

I wonder if this culture stems from the very birth of the nation - in mistrust of British rule (rightly so), and the blood shed that was spilt to gain independence. Certainly that was the basis of the 2nd amendment - the one the tin foil hat brigade loves to trot out. But ya know - 200+ years later people ya gots to get over it. The American Government is YOUR government. It IS what you make it to be - have we become so distrustful of our neighbours and our society? Politics have become divisive - hate, paranoia, mistrust, isolation even within our own communities.... man by nature is a social animal ....

OK... I'm getting off on a way ranty type tangent...
Sorry.
dhlawrence
May. 15th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
^ Seconded! Everybody take one step to the centre. Thank you!
r_caton
May. 15th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
BAH. Our last census was 2001 (I think) one will be due next year, if that is so... and yet the guy at the garage arranging my MOT, or the copper checking up on my car (which he doesn't even need to STOP since the UK has CCTV fitted with numberplate recognition) knows I am licensed, taxed, MOT'd insured, who I'm insured with, the registered keeper of the car and all personal details appertaining etc etc etc etc.
Big Brother IS already here but there's damn all we can do about it. Unless you want to chuck your car and your cellphone and your creditcards and your buspass/oyster ticket if you have one. CITIZEN YOU ARE KNOWN IF NOT LOVED.
ccdesan
May. 16th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Anonymity is Safety
ccdesan
May. 16th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Thank you for your cogent sentiments!
bayliss
May. 16th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
My Mum filled out ours and mailed it back and dang there wasn't much on there that the gov't couldn't find out if they googled my name. Seriously, it's all out there all you have to do is Google yourself and you could find out more about yourself then you didn't even know.

"Day's exhortation to people who view his disingenuous video to refuse, challenge and otherwise harass enumerators is like asking people to make a deliberate effort to be rude to cashiers at Wal-Mart because you happen to disagree with the company's global marketing strategy."

This is true. It's like the Tea Partier's telling everybody that the Dem's are gonna take away all your guns, eat your first born and sacrifice it to their Pagan Gods. Seriously, people, it's not gonna happen. *rolls eyes*

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