Ron Paul on the Census 2010




Census: A Little Too Personal

by Ron Paul

Last week Congress voted to encourage participation in the 2010 census. I voted “No” on this resolution for the simple, obvious reason that the census – like so many government programs – has grown far beyond what the framers of our Constitution intended. The invasive nature of the current census raises serious questions about how and why government will use the collected information. It also demonstrates how the federal bureaucracy consistently encourages citizens to think of themselves in terms of groups, rather than as individual Americans. The not so subtle implication is that each group, whether ethnic, religious, social, or geographic, should speak up and demand its “fair share” of federal largesse.

Article I, section 2 of the Constitution calls for an enumeration of citizens every ten years, for the purpose of apportioning congressional seats among the various states. In other words, the census should be nothing more than a headcount. It was never intended to serve as a vehicle for gathering personal information on citizens.

But our voracious federal government thrives on collecting information. In fact, to prepare for the 2010 census state employees recorded GPS coordinates for every front door in the United States so they could locate individuals with greater accuracy! Once duly located, individuals are asked detailed questions concerning their name, address, race, home ownership, and whether they periodically spend time in prison or a nursing home – just to name a few examples.

From a constitutional perspective, of course, the answer to each of these questions is: “None of your business.” But the bigger question is – why government is so intent on compiling this information in the first place?

The Census Bureau claims that collected information is not shared with any federal agency; but rather is kept under lock and key for 72 years. It also claims that no information provided to census takers can be used against you by the government.

However, these promises can and have been abused in the past. Census data has been used to locate men who had not registered for the draft. Census data also was used to find Japanese-Americans for internment camps during World War II. Furthermore, the IRS has applied census information to detect alleged tax evaders. Some local governments even have used census data to check for compliance with zoning regulations.

It is not hard to imagine that information compiled by the census could be used against people in the future, despite claims to the contrary and the best intentions of those currently in charge of the Census Bureau. The government can and does change its mind about these things, and people have a right to be skeptical about government promises.

Yet there are consequences for not submitting to the census and its intrusive questions. If the form is not mailed back in time, households will experience the “pleasure” of a visit by a government worker asking the questions in person. If the government still does not get the information it wants, it can issue a fine of up to $5000.

If the federal government really wants to increase compliance with the census, it should abide by the Constitution and limit its inquiry to one simple question: How many people live here?



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72 Comments:

  1. The abridged version of what's asked for by Title 13 of the US Census.

    If you're a criminal, they need to know your age, race, sex, color, literacy, etc.

    If you're not a criminal they need to know the population count at your house, and possibly questions about your "housing", but even that is a stretch.

    If you don't answer the questions on the personal census, they can fine you $100. If you answer them wrong on purpose, they can fine you $500.

    Based on the new census and the above information, our government is trying to treat us like criminals.

    Full Title 13 is found here:
    http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/Title_13.txt

    ---------- Relavant Sections of Title 13 my interpretations are based on ------------------
    EXPCITE-
    TITLE 13 - CENSUS
    CHAPTER 3 - COLLECTION AND PUBLICATION OF STATISTICS
    SUBCHAPTER V - MISCELLANEOUS

    -HEAD-
    Sec. 101. Defective, dependent, and delinquent classes; crime

    -STATUTE-
    (a) The Secretary may collect decennially statistics relating -
    (1) to the defective, dependent, and delinquent classes; and
    (2) to crime, including judicial statistics pertaining thereto.

    (b) The statistics authorized by subsection (a) of this section
    shall include information upon the following questions, namely:
    age, sex, color, nativity, parentage, literacy by race, color,
    nativity, and parentage, and such other questions relating to such
    subjects as the Secretary deems proper.
    (c) In addition to the decennial collections authorized by
    subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the Secretary may compile
    and publish annually statistics relating to crime and to the
    defective, dependent, and delinquent classes.

    -EXPCITE-
    TITLE 13 - CENSUS
    CHAPTER 5 - CENSUSES
    SUBCHAPTER II - POPULATION, HOUSING, AND UNEMPLOYMENT

    -HEAD-
    Sec. 141. Population and other census information

    -STATUTE-
    (a) The Secretary shall, in the year 1980 and every 10 years
    thereafter, take a decennial census of population as of the first
    day of April of such year, which date shall be known as the
    "decennial census date", in such form and content as he may
    determine, including the use of sampling procedures and special
    surveys. In connection with any such census, the Secretary is
    authorized to obtain such other census information as necessary.
    (b) The tabulation of total population by States under subsection
    (a) of this section as required for the apportionment of
    Representatives in Congress among the several States shall be
    completed within 9 months after the census date and reported by the
    Secretary to the President of the United States.

    (g) As used in this section, "census of population" means a
    census of population, housing, and matters relating to population
    and housing.

    -EXPCITE-
    TITLE 13 - CENSUS
    CHAPTER 7 - OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
    SUBCHAPTER II - OTHER PERSONS

    -HEAD-
    Sec. 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers

    -STATUTE-
    (a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or
    willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any
    other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce
    or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the
    Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his
    knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in
    connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I,
    II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to
    the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or
    farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not
    more than $100.
    (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a)
    of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances
    described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is
    false, shall be fined not more than $500.
    (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person
    shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his
    religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.

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  2. Concerned Citizen

    The full Title 13 governing the taking of the Census:

    http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/Title_13.txt

    It should be noted that everything I've read on the internet indicates that the Census Bureau has no authority to actually levy a fine. As a result they would need the cooperation of another department.

    As a result no one has been fined for not filling out a Census yet.

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  3. Concerned Citizen

    From the following Census website:
    http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/questions.php

    Do I have to fill the form in?
    Yes, you are required by law.

    Law cited with a $100 fine, not $5,000 (See below)

    I think this $5,000 is an internet rumor and untrue.

    Ron Paul, I generally trust you. Please cite your source for the $5,000.

    -----------------------------------------
    Title 13

    Sec. 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers

    (a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.

    (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500. (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.

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    • http://www.census.gov/acs/www/SBasics/What/What1.htm heres the limk for the 5000 ..Ron Paul is not lying

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      • Concerned Citizen

        This is the only reference to $5,000 in the title.

        As you can see from the description it clearly references people who WORK for the census. The fine of up to $5,000 has nothing to do with failure to answer the questions.

        ------------------

        Whoever, being or having been an employee or staff member
        referred to in subchapter II of chapter 1 of this title, having
        taken and subscribed the oath of office, or having sworn to observe
        the limitations imposed by section 9 of this title, or whoever,
        being or having been a census liaison within the meaning of section
        16 of this title, publishes or communicates any information, the
        disclosure of which is prohibited under the provisions of section 9
        of this title, and which comes into his possession by reason of his
        being employed (or otherwise providing services) under the
        provisions of this title, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or
        imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

        http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/Title_13.txt

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  4. When/where did the increase from the $100 fine to $5,000 happen?

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  5. I am seriously considering some civil disobedience regarding the census. I believe that our president and congress are totally disregarding our constitution, and thus this violation of our privacy must be resisted. I do NOT want to have a visit from a census worker either. I wonder if there is a movement towards a class action suit to forbid the requirements for the invasive questions. Yes birth records are public records, but many states are making them private now because of identity theft. It is OUTRAGEOUS that the census asks for name and BIRTH DATE, yet doesn't deal with the question of citizenship. Yet congressional districts will be based upon these numbers as if all people are citizens to be represented . . .

    With the insatiable power hungry nature of our government I don't want to feed it with our private personal information.

    Yet with the hobby of genealogy I use census and other public records regularly. I have also found evidence of census taker error, and deliberate misinformation, the most common being how the women in my family tree tended to age slower than their husbands.

    Please, if anyone has the URL for actual statutory language regarding the requirements to give our personal information I'd like to check it out further.

    Cautious,

    Susan

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  6. I remember in past census forms,and Maybe the 2010 form is similar,that on the back page it said that you can be fined $100,and later same page,nothing"legally"could be done against you.Now a fine is a legal action from an legal act by a court or authorised body,just as a parking ticket is a fine imposed upon a offender,and the fine was enacted by a court or authorised body upon an offender-it being a legal act/action.So if the current 2010 census says that nothing legally can be done against you,then how can a fine be imposed?I would like to know.Concerning the HealthCare Bill,is there coverage for theraphy,treatment,surgery,for those that are wanting or had a sex-change,but yet at same time deny treatment,care for an elderly 90 year-old world war 11 veteran?if so,that would be horrible-one should ask their member of Congress about this.

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  7. Stalin wanted to know where the kulaks (land owners) were so they could be massacred by the government. Hitler used demographic data to find and decimate Jews. Who knows how this census data will really be used against a certain group of US citizens in the future.

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  8. This goes far beyond than just a population count and giving money to communites. The census is gathering up information on its citizens and dividing them into groups. Remember when the government detained americans with japanese descent into internment camps? They can do just that with the collected information of every different group of people and especially with the gps tracking.

    Why are they enforcing a $5000 fine for refusing to reveal all your information? Its not because population count reasons or anything related to that. They government wants to instill fear and punishment into you. If you dont follow the goverment says, then you will be punished. $5000 fine is a big incentive to fill out the census. Not many families can deal with the burden of a $5000 fine. The government is essentially demanding that you comply with them or pay a fine.

    Im okay with just answering the question of how many people live in one home, but i dont know if it lawful for the government to essentially demand all of your personal information and background. Is there a law requiring you to put down all of your information?

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  9. Be Prepared! The great man Ron Paul has been warning us of what is to come. I am not a rich man and I buy silver for protection. The dollar is tanking and by this fallI think it will drop big time. Cash is trash and don't get stuck holding it or you can use it for toilet paper
    www.MySilverBars.com

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  10. "The not so subtle implication is that each group, whether ethnic, religious, social, or geographic, should speak up and demand its 'fair share' of federal largesse."

    Funny...Ron Paul thinks that his district should get their "fair share" of government pork. He got an earmark for the Gulf Intercoastal Highway as well as to repair the Galveston Seawall and the Texas City Channel. All of which are unconstitutional, of course. Not that he cares.

    Ron Paul argues that he's just getting his "fair share" for his constituents. But he's actually getting more than his fair share. His 22 earmarks are more than any other Republican and more than anyone else in the Houston area delegation (Republicans or Democrats).

    The point I'm trying to make is that we're in the mess we're in because EVERYONE is just trying to get their fair share! Every Congressman wants to bring home a pet project, a defense contract, or something that involves a lot of jobs and money. And hey--the other guy's doing it! Why should he get all of the money for his disctrict? I want some money for mine too, even if it amounts to a fleecing of the taxpayer.

    And Ron Paul is no different. In fact, he's the worst of the worst. Please stop this bizarre worship of a very, very mortal man.

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    • Fred the Protectionist

      So if I click that, will it give me malware, a virus, what?

      I wasn't born yesterday.

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    • @Ben,
      You're absolutely right when you call him out on the pork projects he obtains for his delegation Ben. That stain definitely leaves a smell when you approach him.
      Yet, he smellsl like a rose in comparison to the dripping, double dipped excrement covered congressman, senators, state and city legislatures, and every progressive crap salesman to put on a suit and lie through his teeth pushing collectivism.
      Who is it that you promote anyway? Please don't bother telling me because after I read you're insipid comment I imagined a giant void stamp slamming on your head cancelling your presence in the world of reason. I wish you the best as you kindly get out of our tent. Give Obama my best.

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  11. I have been told, that the first question on the census form is "how many people live in this household"? Directly under that is the Gub'ment's warning paragraph on not answering. Anything under THAT PARAGRAPH is not legal or Constitutional. I intend to to plead the 5th on the remainder of the questions......you all do want you want.

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  12. This census should be interesting, as I cannot imagine even with this administration how they are going to enforce this ridiculous requirement to answer all questions. The constitution declares that for the purpose of enumeration you need only declare how many live in your household.....good luck Mr.Pres getting anyone with half a brain to go any further than that, $5,000 dollars be damned. I can see a supreme court case coming on this one

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    • The census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. It has always been an assessment of the makeup of the country. The census shows where we're moving and what we look like. It has gone to the Supreme Court numerous times, and every time the court has ruled that the census and its questions are constitutional. This isn't a political thing, it's not a new thing, and it's not being run by any political party. True, the U.S. Census Bureau is not a law enforcement agency, but falsifying a census form is now a federal crime (that's where the $5,000 comes from) and could be prosecuted by the Justice Department. But why go through all that fuss and bother? The questions are actually quite important and not intrusive at all when you get down to it. But if you really, really think we're heading the way of Stalin and Hitler, well, then no amount of information here is going to change your mind.

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  13. Let’s be clear: the personal information you give to the Census Bureau is shared with NO ONE. There is no way for the IRS to use your census information against you, nor for your local government to check on whether you comply with zoning regulations. Your personal information is not shared with any law enforcement or government agency, not even with the President of the United States. In fact, just last week, the Department of Justice issued a letter reaffirming that not even the Patriot Act can interfere with the strong confidentiality protections guaranteed by the Census Act, or “Title 13.”

    It is true that the law makes it a crime not to answer the census and authorizes the courts to impose a fine of up to $5,000 for failure to respond. However, rather than rely on criminal charges, the Census Bureau prefers, and has been very successful in getting participation, by instead explaining the importance of the questions we ask and how the information benefits our communities.

    The 2010 Census is just 10 simple questions. The data collected through these questions are essential for determining our voice in our government and how our government allocates our taxpayer dollars.

    For more information on the questions, visit:
    http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php

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    • If it is shared with 'NO ONE' then you don't need the information.

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    • The information is shared with no one except other government people that compile the census. The only Constitutional purpose for conducting the census is to count the number of citizens to determine how much representation each state should receive in the US House. That's it!!!!!!!

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    • It should also be required that members of congress to go back to school and learn the constitution! Also I wish that we didn't have to answer certain questions in the census that we don't want to like John said.

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  14. I think by having all of Congress take and pass a test on the Constutition would eliminate a lot of the problems were having in Congress right now.

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    • Fred the Protectionist

      You Libertarians should also have to pass a test on the Constitution before you start flapping your lips. For example:

      "OMG That's unconstitution to have US troops patrolling US streets! OMG! OMG DOOMSDAY! OMG BLACK HELICOPTERS!"

      no it's not, Posse Comitatus Act is an ACT, ACT, not in the Constitution. ACT's can be repealed without scratching the Constitution. You fruitloop Libertarians.

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      Hotly debated. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 26

      • Fred the Protectionist

        See my point, 8 Ronulans voted thumbs down for simply pointing out Constitutional Facts. Why? Because Libertarians are not Constitutionalists, they are just as manipulative as Liberals and Socialists. They ignore parts of the Constitution, and make up stuff that doesn't exist, just like Liberals and Socialists. Libertarians are radical.

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      • Act, huh? Like the Patriot Act every lefty in America has convulsions over?

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  15. In order for congress to pass a bill shouldn't the senators and representitives know what is or is not included in the bill of rights and the constitution and that they should be able to pass a test on what is contained in the constutition before they can even be trusted to write a bill and pass a bill. and shouldn't the people running for senator or representive be tested , and pass a tested on what is in the constutition before they can be elected to office. also shouldn't they know what laws are meant to leavied by the federal government and the state governments. i think a lot of the laws the federal government is trying to pass are meant for the state's only. i think they should hold a class to teach what is included in the constutition for the state and federal government , and that should have to pass a test on the bill of rights and constutition before they can even qualify to vote on a bill.

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    • No they don't have to pass anything to become a senator or congressman. Many are lawyers, they speak a fantastical laguage that the meanings of the words are interpreted to suit their situation at the moment.

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  16. Fred the Illiterate Deflectionist strikes again.

    He might be funnier than MattForrest.

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  17. Hey "fred the protectionist," are you sure you didn't mean "Goebbels"? Don't you think you'd be wise to consult a dictionary instead of revealing how ignorant you are?

    "Gerbils..." Too funny! Maybe my pet rats would be proud, too! Thanks for showing people how dumb you are.

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    • Fred the Protectionist

      :)

      Goebbels is a cliche, not a real person anymore, so it is GERBILS! You Libertarians have turned it into a cliche. The word means nothing anymore, words you Libertarians use mean nothing anymore.

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  18. I am currently working for the 2010 US Census and also a Ron Paul supporter and District 14 constituent. Up to this point in the operations the focus has been on accuracy of locations to ensure maximum coverage for response to the Census questionnaires. We are beginning to reach a point where I will be expected to ask questions not pertaining to population count, but to demographic questions for allocation of monies to state and local communities. I have already decided I will not, in good conscience, be able to participate in the lines of questioning the Census asks. I have tried to find the law or clause that allows the Federal Government to fine respondents up to $5000 for incomplete forms or refusal to answering questions from the Census questionnaire. Is anyone familiar with where that can be found?

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  19. Is the individual that goes by "Bottomline" who wrote the first comment retarded? Can someone explain to me what he/she is trying to say. Way "the" go? What the hell does that mean. If you're going to make a comment, at the very least proof read it.

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    • Grammar Bully Patrol

      Kevin, if the poster did actually have down syndrome, as you suggested, would you still play grammar bully? And buddy, you didn't exactly proof read your comment either. Why don't we introduce you to the comma? Learn to use it. Don't be afraid! It is really quite normal to break up sentences with this punctuation mark to let the reader know you are pausing. Maybe something like: "Is the individual that goes by 'Bottomline,' who wrote the first comment, retarded?" or "If you're going to make a comment, at the very least, proof read it." While we're at it, why don't we teach you to use a question mark instead of a period, when asking a question? Maybe something like: "What the hell does that mean?"

      You are far from grammar perfection, as probably 99% of us are, including myself. This isn't school. You understood what the poster was saying, but wanted to play grammar bully. Congratulations! You must be super proud of your comment. It, in no way, reflected on Dr. Paul's writing and really, was more of a deterrent than the poster's comment you were so adamant about.

      I understand my comment to you further deters readers, but I'm sick and tired of reading comments that all seem to consist of people bullying others regarding misspellings and grammar instead of commenting on what the topic is actually about!

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  20. This is another way for the Government to embaress us all about our personal information! Way the go Dr. Paul!

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