Now I’m ready

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My wife and I thought we received our census form in the mail last week.

We were ready to do our civic duty. Anything that comes around only once a decade is at least sort of interesting. After all, once every four years for a week or two, even curling’s worth watching.

Instead, the piece of mail from our government was only a letter, in effect an ad, to let us know the census forms would be coming soon. The federal government just wanted to have a short meeting with us in order to schedule the next meeting.

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The postage on the letter was 44 cents, paid for by the federal government, oh, I mean citizens — oh, at this point it’s probably paid for by China or Saudi Arabia.

As far as I can tell, there’s no special reason I would be a necessary recipient of such a reminder.

I’m not more likely than any other citizen to get the 2010 census form out of my mailbox and later on that afternoon, whether by accident or in protest, use the form to clean up after my dog.

I guess all 114 million households in America, and that’s the 2009 estimate, somehow done by the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce and ACORN without an actual Census — making one wonder if the real Census will be any more accurate and therefore worth it, let alone worth the awesome ad campaign for the last two months — got this reminder.

At 44 cents each, that’s $50.2 million in postage. I won’t be the first to note this, but a million here and a billion there and at some point it gets to be real money.

According to and by counting “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi,” the U.S. National Debt goes up $100,000 every five-Mississippi, meaning $50.2 million is added to the national debt roughly every 41 minutes and 50 seconds.

If the Super Bowl ads didn’t work, if the billboards aren’t working and if general, simple civic knowledge isn’t all that reliable, I guess the nationwide Post-it Note isn’t a big deal one way or the other.

The catchy “We Can’t Move Forward” music video TV ads with hundreds of smart, hip, fashionable dudes and chicks spontaneously dancing in the streets target my age group, so I’ll go ahead be an enthusiastic supporter of the U.S. Census each 10 years, but that doesn’t mean I understand the pregame hype.