Does a Mental Condition Impact Your Ability to Shop? The Government Mandates You Answer

Does a Mental Condition Impact Your Ability to Shop? The Government Mandates You Answer
November 16, 2013

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)

The ABC affiliate here in Chicago the other day aired a story on the constant efforts by the federal government  to learn about … well, everything about you.

Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie notes that what the U.S. Census Bureau began in 1790 as a straight head-count has morphed into a massive data-collection effort on the living habits of Americans. And know this: If you see a copy of the “American Community Survey” in your mailbox, the answers are not voluntary.

Answering is mandatory, and a Census Bureau employee will show up at your door and harass you into answering — at least by the account of one of subjects of this story. He called the persistent efforts of the government to learn about the daily habits of him and his family “incredibly creepy.”

ABC7 reached out to The Heartland Institute to talk about the American Community Survey (ACS) and our Steve Stanek was happy to oblige. He’s featured in the video below.

Said Steve: "Over the years, the Census Bureau has been demanding more and more information way beyond how many people live in your house."

Among the questions your government insists some quarter of a million Americans answer each month:

  • What time do you leave for work?
  • How many bedrooms are in your house?
  • Do you have a flush toilet?
  • Does a mental condition impact your ability to shop?

The fine for not answering the government's questions is $5,000. One wonders how, in a free society, merely wanting to be left alone subjects a middle-class family to forfieting a month's pay. Oh, yeah. I remember now. The steady march of leftism.

BTW: The government assured ABC7 that all the data they collect is “encrypted and could never get into the wrong hands.” Sure. Just ask some Tea Party groups around the country what they think of that promise. Also check back in a few weeks with the poor saps who entered their personal information into the federal government’s Obamacare site.

Goudie’s report mentions that all this prying Census information is available for free to any American who would like to look at it — including businesses trying to craft better marketing plans. That’s supposed to make us feel better about it?

Didn’t work on Heartland’s Steve Stanek, who said: "If it’s useful for business, business ought to pay for that. They should not use the American taxpayer to get information from them."

Goudie closes by noting that scammers are out there knocking on doors pretending to be from the Census Bureau and following up on this mandatory survey — and stealing personal financial information in the process. Of course. Criminals want a Merry Christmas, too.

This story makes me think of that quip from Ronald Reagan: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm here from the government, and I'm here to help.' "

Watch below a report on what your friendly, neighborhood Bureaucrat-Man is up to these days:

Jim Lakely

Jim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, co-director of Heartland’s... (read full bio)