Friday, August 6, 2010

The 2010 Census, Government-Run Businesses and a Little Girl’s Lemonade Stand

Every morning at work, I scan the news for a decent hour or so. (It pertains to my job. Really.)

Now with my renewed commitment to Words From The Right, when I’m reading articles, I do so with an eye for any particularly noteworthy topics to touch on. That seemingly simple task is actually a headache simple because there’s just too much going on!

For instance, I already knew what I wanted to talk about today when I was scanning headlines yesterday.

Yet how can I ignore the Washington Times’ report that Social Security is officially in the red… Bloomberg’s story about Fannie Mae requesting an additional $1.5 billion after making much less than nothing 12 quarters in a row… Reuter’s unhappy news of the taxpayer funded U.S. Postal Service losing $3.5 billion in a single quarter…

Or the poor little 7-year old whose lemonade stand got shut down because she didn’t have a business license?

(Yes, that last one deserves its own line all by itself.)

Fortunately, I can tie every single one of those stories together with one of my own…

My Own Story

Last night, I was sitting on my couch, happily scarfing down my dinner (which consisted purely of chocolate chip cookies. No judgments please; I’m enjoying my 20-something metabolism while I still can) and watching an old episode of Bones when my doorbell rang.

I grudgingly set aside my nutritious meal and walked down the stairs to find a census worker at my door. Again. I already had one bug me two months ago.

I have no idea why both times they’ve had to talk to me. Perhaps it’s because of the snarky letter I sent in with my census form (well before the April 1 deadline, might I add). Or maybe my neighbor below me in the renovated house we both rent is just smarter than me and doesn’t answer the door when they ring.

Who knows.

Regardless, the lady I opened my door to yesterday was much more pleasant than her predecessor, who condescendingly insisted that my house must have been a 3-family residency at some point because her government records showed it as such.

(That time, I tried pointing out that there’s really no way more than two families could reasonably share the space, but since it did no good in her mind, I gave her my name and phone number and let her leave without launching into a tirade about my thoughts of her “government information.”)

This new woman told me that her records showed that my house is a mere one family house, completely contradicting the previous census worker’s story. When I brought this up, she tiredly told me that she only knew what the government had provided her with.

The Point of My Own Story

Assuming that neither woman was lying or mistaken, that means the government had two completely contradictory records of a single home. How? No idea and it doesn’t really matter. The main point is that it screwed up.

It also obviously screwed up quite badly with the post office, despite its repeated attempts at raising revenue through stamp price hikes. For that matter, it can’t manage social security – nobody in my generation really expects to ever see a dime of that money anyway. It’s a great big Ponzi scheme, a giant black hole that we throw a bit of our earnings into every paycheck – and it made a huge mistake in ever pretending that Fannie Mae was a good institution to back.

Yet this is the same incompetent, unprofessional, expansive government that thinks it has the right to tell a little 7-year old that she can’t run her lemonade stand?

Clearly, it has the business track record to talk. Or not.

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