Article I section 2 of the United States Constitution as amended by Amendment XIV section 1 directs the central government to conduct a decennial "Enumeration" of persons residing within the territory of the nation for purposes of "apportioning representatives" in the Congress. The logic and reasonableness of such a census are both obvious and indisputable. How times have changed.
Recently an item of mail found its way into our mail box addressed to unnamed "residents" of our home. The envelope and its contents were doubtless discarded into the rubbish bin along with the quantity of "junk mail" delivered by employees of the U.S. Postal Service 6 times per week. Yesterday however, a followup communication arrived threatening the residents of our address with unspecified "penalties" for neglecting to respond to the previous missive. The communication was sent by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and contained a questionnaire of more than 15 pages entitled "American Community Survey". The government estimates "the time required to complete the survey to be 38 minutes".
The questions on the "survey" were not limited to the number of persons residing at the location but included the racial makeup, marital status, education level, income, age and citizenship (but only if U.S. It is apparently not the purpose of the Federal government to determine the legal status of non citizens). Additionally, the survey demands to be apprised of the amount of rent, plumbing facilities, telephone service, method and cost of heating as well as the market value of the residence. The survey required to be advised of the hour of the day when each employed person left for work and the time spent in the commute.
The instructions accompanying the survey reveal among other data, the purposes for requiring the value of rent and meals: "Government and planning agencies use answers to these questions... to develop... programs to meet the needs of people of different economic levels." Such is the condition of life in our "Constitutional Republic" that to fulfill the original constitutional intent, one simple question would suffice i.e. "number of inhabitants". Nowhere in the founding document can be found the authorization for implementing the "programs" which define the purpose of the survey.
Hopefully I made no errors in answering the questions which will require the appointment of a "Special Counsel". I suspect that the mercy which attended the commutation of Mr. Libby's sentence would not be forthcoming.
cross posted at: Eternity Road