Information and the Government

The Department of Labor called this morning, asking me to reconsider my refusal to participate in their monthly survey of employers.  One issue I had with the survey, of course, was that it was a time-consuming mess.  They called today to ask if I would respond monthly with just my employee counts.  I said no.  I gave them some variation of my answer that if I were a deer, I would not voluntarily provide my location and movement data to hunters.  So I suppose I can expect an audit sometime soon.

This is a long-time debate on this site, as I have argued against more intrusive government economic data gathering while the technocratic response has been to argue that if government is going to do certain functions, wouldn't it be better if its data were good.

I am happy to see that others feel the same way as me about government data gathering, as apparently there is a push back among Republicans in Congress on the Census Bureau gathering data beyond the Constitutional minimum.  I know on my Census response I filled in only my name, address, and number of family members at that residence and left everything else blank.

  • BFD

    Don't bother with a First Amendment argument as the Supremes long ago morphed map no law to make some laws.

  • http://tjic.com TJIC

    > I gave them some variation of my answer that if I were a deer, I would not voluntarily provide my location and movement data to hunters.

    You're my hero!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy

    > I know on my Census response I filled in only my name, address, and number of family members at that residence and left everything else blank.

    Well, I also fill out the "could you possibly have been counted elsewhere" bit (no), 'cause I figure that is a legitimate part of the determination of the population of the states and districts.

    And let me tell, that little data looks awfully lonely on the long form (which I got for 2010).

  • Frank Waleczak

    I never received a Census form for the 2010 or the 2000 Census. Nor did I receive a visit form one of the multitude of enumerators. And no, I had not recently moved. Same address for 6 years prior to the 2010 and 9 years before the 2000 Census. I was not the only one in my circle of friends and family who were not counted. No, I did not call the Census Bureau and complain.

  • http://AReasonableMan.com Gil

    I did the same on my census form.

    I received several threatening phone calls indicating that I could be prosecuted for refusing to comply with their requests for further information. I just repeated that I was complying with what I understood to be the lawful requirements, and I doubted that they would want to test their interpretation in court.

    Eventually the threats stopped.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I feel obligated to respond to phone surveys and answer as inaccurately as possible usually the exact opposite of what is true. I was doing this once many years ago and responded that we should bomb Hanoi. The survey taker responded by hanging up. I assume he didn't like my answers so filled it out with his own to jigger the results.

  • Agammamon

    "Well, I also fill out the “could you possibly have been counted elsewhere”

    Interstingly enough, my las tduty stationm before retiring from the navy was managing several barracks in Yuma, AZ. One of the thing I had to deal with was the demand for census reports on my transient barracks. Those barracks were for people stationed elsewhere that were in Yuma for training or other temporary duties. They were all accounted for by their home duty stations, but had to be counted again at random intervals here. Basically the census takers would come by and say "I want to know who's living in this building" and I would have to distribute and gather up the census forms from the residents. They never seemed to grasp the concept of "transient". I wonder if they polled hotels also under the same logic.

    I just assumed someone wanted to overcount AZ's population.

  • The Other Me

    I've been through 2 census' with my wife. Both times I have done as Warren has and both times I have caught her on the phone with them giving our blood types and how many pine trees we have. She figures if they ask then it must be legal for them to ask.

  • Vilmos

    AFAIK, Lee Kuan Yew, the long serving Prime Minister of Singapore who turned it from a pile of crap into a pile of gold, once said something that the less data the government gathers the less reason it has into intruding the economy. Or something like that.

    Since I read this, I cannot help but always feel that the primary reason of gov't data gathering (beyond the minimum) is just the startline into intruding into our lives.

    Vilmos

  • http://www.grouchyconservativepundits.com Mike C.

    I felt it was important to fill out the "race" portion of the census form. I put down Anglo-Norman for the wife and Celtic for myself.

    When I also got the long form, I threw it away - twice.