I got a letter from the census today

Richard N. Weltz
There in my mail was an envelope clearly marked to show it came from the US Bureau of the Census and that said Bureau had duly paid a first-class postal rate to send it to me.

Kind of light and thin, so I took it to be a short form questionnaire to be filled out and returned; but it wasn't. It was a letter telling me that I would be receiving the actual census form soon in the mail -- and would I kindly be good enough to fill it out and mail it back.

Then a gratuitous paragraph explained that this would be important because it would help determine how much money (read "pork") would be allocated to my community. No mention of the actual reason designated for a census by our Constitution: for the purpose of apportioning among the states their representation in the lower House.

Part of the letter's text was also printed below the main body in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Presumably, tens or hundreds of millions copies of this useless missive is being sent out at taxpayer expense -- which must be enormous -- for printing, translation, typesetting in foreign languages and non-Latin scripts (I know a little about that part, having been in the business for decades), postage, addressing, presorting, and mailing.

How much more money -- in this time of recession -- is being wasted by this administration in the running of the 2010 census project? I shudder to think.
There in my mail was an envelope clearly marked to show it came from the US Bureau of the Census and that said Bureau had duly paid a first-class postal rate to send it to me.

Kind of light and thin, so I took it to be a short form questionnaire to be filled out and returned; but it wasn't. It was a letter telling me that I would be receiving the actual census form soon in the mail -- and would I kindly be good enough to fill it out and mail it back.

Then a gratuitous paragraph explained that this would be important because it would help determine how much money (read "pork") would be allocated to my community. No mention of the actual reason designated for a census by our Constitution: for the purpose of apportioning among the states their representation in the lower House.

Part of the letter's text was also printed below the main body in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Presumably, tens or hundreds of millions copies of this useless missive is being sent out at taxpayer expense -- which must be enormous -- for printing, translation, typesetting in foreign languages and non-Latin scripts (I know a little about that part, having been in the business for decades), postage, addressing, presorting, and mailing.

How much more money -- in this time of recession -- is being wasted by this administration in the running of the 2010 census project? I shudder to think.