Vital Signs

On the Lam From the Census Bureau

I’m hiding out—from the Census Bureau.  True, they usually don’t send out U.S. marshals with guns and handcuffs.  But I’m playing it safe anyway, because the Bureau has been after me since I failed to fill out its treasured questionnaire, “The American Community Survey.”

I’ve been through this before.  I don’t mind if the government learns how many people live here.  That’s necessary for drawing electoral districts, which is a legitimate government function.  So, on the traditional census form, I routinely fill in the number of people living in my house and leave the rest of the questions blank.  That has led the Bureau to call and even send busybodies to my door to pry into my affairs.  They are as determined as those kids recruited to sell magazine subscriptions at inflated prices, only much worse.  A few years ago, I received a special small-business survey.  It was even longer than the decennial long form, so I tossed it in the trash.  The Census Bureau thoughtfully sent a second one, followed by a threatening letter.  The government eventually gave up on me; maybe they found a substitute victim.

More recently, I received a new, equally obnoxious demand for information.  And it was a demand.  Although Bureau Director Charles Louis Kincannon’s cover letter requested me “to help us...

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