FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
This Thursday, April 1 is National Census Day, the day the once-a-decade U.S. headcount officially begins.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/30/art.census.jpg caption="The Census form is required to be returned by April 1. The first Census was taken in 1790, when the U.S. population was less than the current population of Los Angeles - around four million."]
It may not be a coincidence that April Fool's Day is the same day. But the joke here is more sad than it is funny.
You see, even though the agency has had 10 years to work out the kinks in this cumbersome process of counting every American man, woman and child, it hasn't.
Information technology problems are a top concern, in particular two software programs that manage the maps and workloads for census takers making those door-to-door follow up visits. An estimated 50 million households out of a total of 120 million will likely require a follow-up visit. The Census Bureau says there is still time to fix the problems - they've had 10 years to get ready for this - but they say time is running out. No kidding.
The Census Bureau has already shelled out an extra $88 million for a technology glitch last fall that paid $300 to a reported 15,000 temporary hires who did little or no work updating the Bureau's maps.
The entire Census process is expected to cost taxpayers more than $14 billion, but that number will likely be higher and who knows how reliable the results will be. This is our government at work. Now they want to manage health care.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Census Bureau can't be ready for 2010 count?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Can't be ready? How can that possibly be? The government has been conducting the census count every 10 years for hundreds of years. They've spent millions advertising so that Americans are "ready" to be counted. Now, the Census Bureau is not ready?
Steven in New York, NY writes:
It means that the Census Bureau is suffering the same malaise as all other government agencies and businesses for that matter. Our education system is cranking out people not bright enough to do the jobs or honest and conscientious enough to put in the effort. The tubes are greased and we're just slip-sliding away.
It probably means that health care will be down for the count too. Your government at work for you. What a farce. If this isn't the handwriting on the wall we are all blind or don't want to believe it. Maybe it would be better if the private sector handled the census. At least we could hold their feet to the fire if they were not ready on time.
Jesse in Vancouver, Canada writes:
It means that it is time for the Census Bureau to be closed and all the staff fired. I have more faith in Microsoft, IBM and Google, etc. to gather up all the information and make sure people are not counted twice.
My wife is a crew leader for the 2010 Census, her third census. She has trained her crew, and they are awaiting their cases to enumerate. Everyday it is one computer problem after another, with the end result that no work is being readied and they are stalled out (without pay, do not worry!). Obviously I cannot give her name, or she will probably lose her job.
Elly in Minnesota writes:
I am an old lady, Jack, and I won't be opening my door for the government to pry into my affairs. I'm going to look out the window at them and don't answer the door. Just like I do when the Jehovah's witnesses show up.