President Obama needs some census

By Lynne McMillan

The Christmas story told in the Bible specifically says that Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem to adhere to Caesar Augustus’ decree that every person in the world should be taxed.

Thus, the traditional census has been around just as long as Jesus Christ himself. Suffice to say, censuses are important if even the mother of God was trying to get to one on a donkey, nine months pregnant.

Every 10 years we try and count exactly how many people live in each area of the United States for imperative purposes, ranging from the re-drawing of congressional districts to the allocation of federal tax dollars. Traditionally, the Commerce Department oversees the nonpartisan census count. Last week the Obama administration promised to be integral players in the census that will commence next year. To say this development is “interesting” would not adequately convey my sarcasm in print.

Having the census director report to the White House rather than the Commerce Department, which was the administration’s ultimate goal as suggested by multiple media insiders, politicizes one of the most important fundamentals of operating the government fairly.

The White House has absolutely no business being involved in the census, in any way, other than making sure the Census Bureau gets it done. The obvious conflicts of interest arising from the administration’s participation should have been anticipated by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs before he announced his vague (per usual) knowledge of what the White House’s involvement in the matter will be. However, he did manage to tell us on Friday that the actual counting will be done by the Census Bureau. Dang, I was hoping to see Rahm Emanuel on the streets of D.C. personally handing out questionnaires to bums on the street!

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The political ramifications of the census results are staggering. After the 2000 census, Illinois lost one congressional district, and therefore, one electoral vote. However, Illinois was not the only blue state that lost votes, which is exactly why this census is so important to democrats to have a hand in the count.

Comparing the Electoral College results from before and after the 2000 census and excluding the states that flipped from red in 2000 to blue in 2008, six traditionally blue northeast and Midwest states (Conn., Ill., Pa., Mich., N.Y., Wis.) lost a combined seven electoral votes. Historically republican states (Ga., Ariz., Texas), on the other hand, gained six. Democrats are realizing that this predicament could happen again as the baby boomers that made their money in states like Illinois and New York pack up to retire in the South. If that happens, liberals are scared to death that their congressional majorities may be at stake, and they are going to do whatever it takes to get the numbers they want in the areas they can win.

The particularly terrified Democrats claim that the traditional census method of literally, physically counting each and every American is inaccurate and creates a bias towards poor people and minority groups. Latino and black leaders argue that a physical count undercuts their true numbers because minorities generally shy away from government interviewers. What it really does is keep people who do not technically exist in America from being the beneficiaries of federally sponsored programs supported by government funds.

Future elections, billions of tax dollars and the credibility of the Obama administration all depend on administering a fair and thorough census. Now, liberals are advocating a general “estimation” of the population. This would employ a practice called sampling to count urban residents and immigrants. Two weeks ago Nancy Pelosi estimated that 500 million Americans are losing their jobs every month (roughly 300 million live in the U.S. today). These are not the people I want “estimating” anything, there is simply too much at stake.

Lynne is a senior in Business. Rahm Emanuel owns the rights to the term “gerrymandering.”