Commentary: Paranoia over census is over-the-top

The Kansas City StarMarch 17, 2010 

Wingnut Nation is always having night sweats about something or other.

The latest phony outrage is this nation's decennial head count. Even before the forms appeared in mailboxes this week, some critics called this census overly "intrusive."

"If the federal government really wants to increase compliance with the census," U.S. Rep. Ron Paul wrote his Texas constituents, "it should abide by the Constitution and limit its inquiry to one simple question: How many people live here?"

Why is this stupid?

For one thing, this is one of the least intrusive census surveys ever.

How many people live in your house, mobile home or apartment? How old are they? What are their names, race, sex and dates of birth? And finally, at what phone number could you be reached if a census clerk can't read your scribble?

That's it. Far less info than we turn over to the IRS.

But here's the second reason I find the paranoia laughable: We give away far more information about ourselves in exchange for easy credit and the chance to win contest drawings and get discounts on groceries.

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