President Obama Fills Out His Census Form

President Barack Obama fills out his 2010 Census form in the Oval Office, March 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s very important that you fill in the form and promptly mail it back. Census information affects the numbers of seats your state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. And people from many walks of life use census data to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets, locate pools of skilled workers and more.

When you do the math, it’s easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for your community. Better infrastructure. More services. A brighter tomorrow for everyone. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like:

  • Hospitals
  • Job training centers
  • Schools
  • Senior centers
  • Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
  • Emergency services

Participation isn’t just important—it’s mandatory.

Only Simple Addition Will Do

Written by Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo

It’s not enough that folks from the Birther & Death Panel set have convinced many good folks that the Census is a secret plot to steal their lawn furniture. There’s another irony waiting. Historically, the real problem with underreporting has been in underprivileged communities — particularly African-Americans and Latinos and especially in large urban areas. To that end, conservatives have worked for the better part of two decades to stop the Census from taking any steps to correct numbers in the face of widespread non-response: namely, statistical sampling. And in the face of that pressure, the current Census Director has ruled out using sampling in the 2010 Census.

Now, it’s hard not to appreciate some of the irony in right-wing lies about the Census coming back to bite them. But it’s really a loss for everyone if everyone in the country, irrespective of race, creed, ideological persuasion, region and whatever else, doesn’t get counted.

But if there really is widespread undercounting because of the antics of folks like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it’ll just be tough luck. There won’t be any solution.

Wingnut Blowback

Written by Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)

Most rightwing bamboozlement is a no consequences affair for the bamboozlers. Death panels, Manchurian candidate presidents, ‘armed IRS’ agents busting down your door to ram low deductible health care coverage down your throat. It goes on and on. But it seems one old yarn from the fever swamp may have some very pernicious consequences for the folks who make their living making up stories to keep the wingnut masses in a state of chronic agitation and moral panic.

Rightwing hullabaloo over the federal Census, particularly the improbable claim that the Census is unconstitutional, is reportedly leading a lot of the most conservative Republicans to refuse to fill out their Census forms, which in theory at least could lead to substantial underrepresentation for these folks in Congress over the next decade — not to mention a lower cut of services from the federal government.

That at least is what Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the ranking Republican on the committee that oversees the Census, thinks is happening. And he’s now taken to Redstate.com itself, Fever Swamp Central, to tell fellow conservatives to do the right thing and fill out their Census forms. As McHenry notes, it’s very hard to reason that the Census can be unconstitutional since it’s one of the only things the constitution not only provides broad powers to do but actually expressly enjoins the federal government to do every decade.

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