Originally published in the Fullerton Student Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 1; 1 Feb 2000
Despite the hype given it by the Clinton Administration, the 2000 Census is actually unconstitutional.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that the Census be used to make an enumeration, or counting of the people, for the purpose of apportioning Congressional districts.
“The federal government has gone far beyond that Constitutional mandate,” said Steve Dasbach, national director of the Libertarian Party, which opposes all questions in the Census beyond a head count, “and uses the Census to ask dozens of probing questions – including the color of your skin, the number of toilets in your home, your disabilities and how many cars you own.”
Beyond the 52 questions in the Census, which is 51 more than called for in the Constitution, is the disturbing ways in which the information is subsequently used.
In an attempt to reverse declining response rates, Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt held a press conference to implore Americans to view the Census as a “civic ceremony.” The results of the census, Prewitt said, affect “power, money, group interests, civil rights; in short, who gets how much of what.”
The information collected by the Census is used to distribute an estimated $180 billion in taxpayers’ money, to justify and expand wasteful programs, and to allow government discrimination against Americans based upon their racial or ethnic background.
“In other words,” Dasbach said, “Census information is used to forge the chains that bind Americans to failed government programs, meddlesome bureaucracies, and a sky-high tax rate.”
Anyone who refuses to answer all of the government’s questions could face pressure and a $100 fine from the Census Bureau, but opponents of the deliberate overreaching demonstrated by the government agree that $100 is a small price to pay for making a stand for privacy and freedom from government interference in our daily lives.