Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 Census

Counting more than 300 million Americans this year should cost us at least $11.3 billion, if all goes according to plan and if costs stay within budget which I doubt very much. Just listen to our story if you want to appreciate our dysfunctional this project is; we have a PO Box address and therefore never received the form (yeah, that was the “plan”). We found this out when we realized that we had not received the form in the mail and after talking to a census staffer camped at our public library and who gave us the forms, plus a free grocery bag. We filled the form, mailed it out, that was 6 weeks ago. What about the internet? This was an available option in 2000, but not this year; No, I guess it would have been too easy, cost-effective and too much in keeping with our times. This would have meant huge savings in terms of paper, postage and labor costs!
While we were out this week, one of the many individuals hired for counting stopped by our home and left a note with his phone number. We called back and told him that we already had mailed the form. “Never mind,” he said, “I'll return anyway” and set up an appointment for this past Saturday morning. The man showed up for the appointment and wrote down on his sheet what we already had jotted down more than a month ago. He said he was making $17 per hour, plus mileage, thought the whole process was utterly disorganized but that it was a great gig for him. I can appreciate that the project gave a lot of people otherwise unemployed a chance to work, but it remains a huge waste of taxpayers money as 90% of it could have been done on line saving all of us at least $7 to $9 billion!

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