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April 22 2014

Can We Trust Numbers from the Census Bureau?

Charlotte Hays

Looks like the IRS isn’t the only agency that deserves a fullscale probe. It appears that there may be reason to distrust trust numbers from the Census Bureau.

The New York Post’s John Crudele, a respected numbers cruncher, previously reported on alleged fiddling with numbers in the Census Bureau that may have produced better employment numbers than was the case in the lead up to the 2012 presidential race.

He is back this morning with a story that reports that there is “a pattern of falsifying statistics throughout the entire Census Bureau.”  The previous story was about the alleged falsifications of a Census employee named Julius Buckmon:

Because the Census Bureau’s surveys are scientific — meaning each answer, in the case of the jobless survey, carries the weight of about 5,000 households — Buckmon’s actions alone would have given inaccurate readings on the economic health of 500,000 families….

Buckmon alleged that he was told to fudge the data by higher-ups. There was no formal probe back then into what Buckmon was doing or what he was alleging, although a Census investigator — who is now under indictment for other crimes against the bureau — did question a few people.

But it appears that the Buckmon story may have been the tip of the iceberg. Crudele writes:

Now others who work at Census in different areas of the country are stepping forward to tell me similar stories about data being changed at the whim of supervisors who are more concerned about making quotas than protecting the integrity of information that is used for everything from cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients, monetary policy decisions by the Federal Reserve and business plans by companies in the US. …

“I can tell you that waste, falsification and fraud are rampant,” says one of my new sources, who works as a Census supervisor in the Midwest and handles a number of surveys, including those on jobs, health and crime.

What the IRS scandal seems to indicate is that that United States has grown a vast, politicized bureaucracy. It appears to be willing to take matters into its own hands to promote its agenda.

It would not be surprising if the agenda is support for the Democratic Party and, in particular, the Obama administration. This does not require collusion. The bureaucrats know that the Obama administration is an administration that seeks to expand the government and is more likely to dole out raises rather than pink slips to federal employees.

Trimming these bureaucracies would reduce if not eliminate some of the problems of a politicized bureaucracy. Crudele’s latest story comes on the heels of revelations that changes in the way the Census Bureau asks questions will obscure the effects of ObamaCare.  The changes are reportedly to get more accurate numbers. Ironically, the timing of the changeover will mean that we won’t get accurate figures on the effects of one of the most important changes in our history.

 With the right tax system, the IRS could be abolished. Steve Forbes has long advocated a flat tax that would make it possible for ordinary citizens to do their taxes on a postcard. But the Census Bureau can’t be eliminated. The Census was established by the Constitution. We need accurate figures to run the government. Numbers from the Census are used, for example, to apportion electoral votes. So you can see how dangerous falsification at the Census Bureau could be.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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