Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Three million Americans are being forced to answer intrusive questions about their private lives under threat of home visits and fines by the government in the guise of The American Community Survey.
The survey, which is sent to 3 million random homes each year, is in addition to the census but demands far more invasive information from citizens, such as how many times they have been married, if they have a toilet that flushes, and how much is left outstanding on their mortgage.
According to one North Texas resident, “The questionnaire also wants answers about where she works, how much money she makes, and what time she leaves for work each day – the hour and minute! “I thought it was intrusive. I don’t have a high regard for the federal government collecting this information anyway,” the woman told CBS 11 News. “You don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”
“Why do they need to know this? They don’t, in my opinion,” the woman said, before further stating that she thinks the personal questions are un-American. “Do they really need to know if we have a mortgage and whether this house is free and clear? That’s intrusive.”
The U.S. Census Bureau claims the survey helps them “determine where to locate services and allocate resources.”
If the person refuses to respond to the the survey or merely skips one question, then the Census Bureau promises that they will be fined and harassed until they do, a process that includes telephone calls and home visits.
However, it’s all hot air as no one has ever been charged with a crime for refusing to answer the ACS survey, and indeed several members of Congress have denounced the invasive questions as a violation of the Right to Financial Privacy Act.
On its very face, this is also a flagrant violation of the 5th amendment. Any census form that goes beyond asking how many people live in the residence is a violation of the 5th amendment, and court cases have established this, yet the census becomes more and more invasive each time.
Despite the fact that refusal to respond to the survey carries no ultimate penalty, the vast majority of the millions who receive it will doubtless comply in the face of threats of harassment and fines.
Objections to the invasive information being demanded by the government in the form of the survey arrive on the back of similar concerns about the 2010 census itself, particularly how census workers are using GPS to electronically tag every home in America.
In February, the Obama administration moved control of the census out of the Department of Commerce and into the White House, a tactic slammed as a trick by Democrats to keep their majorities in Congress.
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