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I find myself of two minds concerning a recommendation to not send in the Census.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the role of the Census and I support it's collection, in fact I have signed up to be an enumerator, that is a Census taker.
That is exactly what is making me think about this differently.
I've seen the figure of $85 million, as the money spent on the census for every percentage point of forms that don't get sent in. That's a lot of money wasted by one point of view, hence the calls for everyone to send in their forms and save the govt. money. As someone who is going to get at least a few weeks of decent (though hardy lavish) pay out of that money spent, I don't see it as quite so wasteful.
As a jobs program it has the advantage of getting people to work bringing home checks in a hurry, of course those jobs will be only temporary ones, and the vital work of the census could in fact be done less expensively and more efficiently if everyone simply mailed in their forms.
That money is really going to help a lot though. I have a small bus. of my own and you'll not be surprised to hear my income has taken a serious hit in the last year or two. Though a 6-8 week job for the Census would hardly be enough for me to live on by itself, it just might supply the extra little bit to keep me afloat another year.
So can I in good conscious tell people not to mail in their forms? No not really, but I guess I can say that if you don't, and you start getting bothered by that $85 million/ percentage point, think about how many people out there are going to be grateful for a few weeks of decent paying work because you and others didn't.

Originally posted to fat old man on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:34 AM PST.


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