Last week I received a letter from Robert M. Groves, the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, advising me that I was about to receive a Census form in the mail. Mr. Groves cautioned that I should fill it out and return it promptly, so that my community gets "its fair share of government funds."
I was a little taken aback, because when politicians and bureaucrats bandy around the term "fair share," it usually involves taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people--you know, redistribution of wealth--but this was different. This time they were talking about a "fair share of government funds." Government funds are the money they take from you and me and the guy across the street that they think is theirs. They dole it out again when some other politician wants "funding" or some other politician is looking for "an investment," but if you listen real close, you'll hear the sound of someone pulling your wallet out of your back pocket and taking most of your cash.
But anyhow, being the good citizen I am, and understanding that the Census is a constitutional undertaking, I vowed to comply. Then the Census form arrived.
Question # 1 asked how many people were staying at my dwelling as of April 1, 2010.
Seeing that it was still March, I had two choices. Either do as Mr. Groves asked, that is, answer the question and send the form back promptly, or wait until April 1st so I could answer the question honestly without having to try to predict the future.
Question # 2 said, in effect, "We know you lied when you answered Question # 1, so tell us the real number of people who live in your dwelling." Seriously. If you still have your Census form, check it out and let me know if I'm wrong.
Questions # 3 through # 10 asked if I'm Hispanic.
In case you're wondering, I've decided to wait until April 1st to send in my form. Sorry, Mr. Groves, but I could be fined for providing erroneous information. I won't know all the answers for sure until then, so you'll just have to be patient. Besides, sending it in on April Fools Day seems, somehow, so appropriate.