Friday, May 7, 2010

Protesting the census (from Dean's World)

(My response to what might be an obvious question that cycles every ten years.)
Unless I’m wrong on this, I think everybody in the United States is on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA) from the year they are born. Moreover, this information is probably known to every school district in every part of all 50 states.

Therefore, an easily programmable national database with all the vital US Census-related information already exists, and is updated every year. And all the need on everybody is probably no more than 200 bytes, that means a database of about 60 GB. Which is easily handleable on any 64-bit platform.

Hell’s bells. for my mailing list business, I already have access to a national database of some 240 million people. I have all the Wisconsin consumers in a single database on one of my business-class computers. And as soon as I upgrade from 32-bit to a 64-bit processor, system board, and memory, I will use a modern post-VFP xbase program to get the USA file into a single database so I can make cross-state customer counts.

And I’m certain the US Department of Commerce can do all this even a lot more efficient and quicker than an old man in southern Wisconsin running a small-time list business. And that certainly must include the ability to estimate the population of each state sufficient to re-apportion the seats of the US Congress as is done every ten years.

Or is this just another $500 federal purchase of a toilet seat that I can buy for about $13 in a local do-it-yourself plumbing supply store on the east side of Madison, Wisconsin?

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI


  1. Arnold,

    Two things spring to mind immediately, one you touched on already (great place to keep the relatives and cronies employed), and the other you probably know more about than I do: Isn't there an actual legal prohibition against requiring the use of a SSN as a federal identification number for anything other than tax and Social Security purposes? There was a lot of concern about that at the time the Social Security system was enacted/created and I believe it was set out in statutory fashion to alleviate those fears. Granted it has over the decades pretty much morphed into a federal ID number, but there are still legal barriers that keep the government from overtly using it as such.

  2. Social Security doesn't count actual residents. Nor does it track people by location. Besides, this is about politics, not people.

  3. My main issue with the damn census is that military personnel overseas don't count, nor do their dependents. I'm also steamed that if I'm Hispanic I get an entire question all to myself with lots of distinctions as to what KIND of Hispanic I am but all white people must be from the Caucus mountains in Russia. I do NOT look Russian, I have no Russian heritage. I am German, Spanish, French, Dutch, English, Welsh, Irish & Scottish. NONE of those are acceptable answers on the Census form. You're just "white" but if you're Spanish (& I filled out that question too!) I got to tell you from WHERE my Spanish is from. That pisses me the hell off. No one type of human is somehow so much more valid or useful or important than any other. So much for Messiah's version of moving forward, eh? For the record I wrote that we were all Texans as race + checking off all the different colors we have in us. I think the only ones I didn't check off were Asian. I'm also steamed that somehow people from the Middle East are WHITE by definition of the US government. WTF white person comes from Saudi or Jordan or Egypt or Israel or Syria or Iran or Iraq? Way to lump them the f*ck together & ignore our variations all in one fell swoop!