Your tax dollars at work

…or lack thereof.  Yesterday, we got this in the mail:

2010 Census Warning Letter

Really?  I mean, really? I can’t imagine one person out there who thinks this is at all necessary.  Your government actually spent time writing a letter, translating one line into several languages, printing, assembling, and mailing this thing out to every residence?

The one line at the end must be the important line, because it’s the only one they translated… yet, it wasn’t important enough to be in the actual body of the letter.  Are we to ignore the thole main part of the letter?  How did they pick the languages in which to translate the line?  What are they?  Please excuse my public education.  I recognize the English of course, Spanish, what I think is Chinese, then most likely Japanese or Korean, under that… I have no idea, then the Cryillic letters… is that Russian?  Why no French, Italian, German, or at this point Navajo?  Did they just throw darts at a map?

What if I’m politically opposed to the social programs that you need this census data for?  Is this my warning to fill the census out incorrectly?  Doesn’t the government already know everything about me when I do my taxes?  What exactly is my fair share, and who determines that?  I’m sure it’s nothing even close to “if I pay more taxes I get more out of government assistance”… which would seem fair to me.

On the other end of the political scale, even if this paper is made from recycled material, the plastic window in the envelope couldn’t have been environmentally friendly… and this is still a giant waste of paper, ink, envelope glue, and the gas that went into the trucks/planes/cars that delivered these things.  I really hope the tree-hugging hippies pick up on this and rail against it.  If the government expects us to be more responsible with our resources, they ought to lead by example.  Even a fictional villain from the Captain Planet cartoon would find this wasteful.

Oddly, it didn’t even mention the not-so-humorous “Snapshot of America” campaign that’s been shoved down our throats via TV, radio, print, and the ‘net.  I could almost see if it was some expansion of that, or more of an explanation.  This basically translates to “please fill out the census when you get it”… and if you need help, we have a website you can go to.  They couldn’t have done that in the useless ad campaign?

Who paid for this?  We did.  You, me, and everyone else that pays taxes.  Wouldn’t the money used for this mailing have been better used in the schools, health care facilities, highways, and programs that the census letter speaks of?  Or, it could have gone to disaster relief, homeless shelters, cancer research, or better yet, you could have all gotten a few more tax dollars back in your refund.  Before you laugh…  It wouldn’t just be the cost of the paper, ink, envelope, & stamp.  Think of all the people who where paid to write, print, fold, stuff, stamp, & transport these things and how many hours they spent doing it… and imagine what they get paid an hour.  Even with automated machines to do most of the work, someone had to monitor the progress and set the ball rolling.

Was this a ploy to keep the post office running for another few months before it shuts down?  The one sentence that stands out to me is “Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share.”  This reads like a threat in a stereotypical “pay for protection” plot line on your favorite crime drama or Simpsons episode.  I imagine someone sounding like Joe Pesci saying “I would ‘ate for sometin’ bad to ‘appen to your community were you to ignore this important mailing coming your way.”

Yes, I just wasted more of your time.  Sorry about that.  Maybe I need a government job…

7 thoughts on “Your tax dollars at work

  1. I said the same thing when we got ours. I’m actually surprised they haven’t figured out a way for people to just do the census online. That would save all kinds of money.


    • Yeah, I can’t imagine that anyone thinks this was a good idea. The internet idea is a no-brainer. That may take 3 or 4 more censuses (censi?) to be enacted though… if they start working on it now.


  2. Special thanks to SteelCityTerp (of Steel City Interpreters) for some excellent legwork, here! I’ve been following them on Twitter, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask an expert about the languages in question.

    @SteelCityTerp Hey! Would you know what languages these are…? 🙂

    I got an excellent (and quick) response!

    @AiXeLsyD13 I’m viewing it on my blackberry & its 2 small 2 C the line in question but as soon as I cn view it on my cmputr ill let U know!

    @AiXeLsyD13 I can tell you now its probably either Korean or Vietnames- now you got me wondering…. Keep you posted… #census

    @AiXeLsyD13 it says:“Go to for help completing your 2010 Census form when it arrives.” (cont)

    And, the extended tweet

    @AiXeLsyD13 it says:“Go to for help completing your 2010 Census form when it arrives.” (Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Simplified Chinese) #censustranslation


  3. Oh, got some responses to my status & my WP post on facebook… hope they all come here to read/comment too.


    Eric Carroll
    So, we got a letter from the gub’ment, saying that they’re sending a census form next week, and that we should fill it out… and if I need help, they gave me a website to go to. THIS is what government time/energy/money/paper is spent on?
    Yesterday at 10:15pm ·

    Heather Hanna
    I got that letter too. I read it and laughed. Really, they needed to send us a warning letter that they were going to be sending us another letter? Ugh
    Yesterday at 10:16pm ·

    Eric Carroll
    Seriously. It’s beyond ridiculous. The only reason has to be that it’s keeping the post office busy for another week or two.
    Yesterday at 10:18pm ·

    Jeff Railsback
    I laughed too. But I also applied for a job w the census that banks on how many people don’t reply to that letter. Basically, if lots of people ignore the paper survey they’ll hire people like me at $20ph to go door to door.
    Yesterday at 10:19pm ·

    Heather Hanna
    right…until they decide to cut saturday service
    Yesterday at 10:19pm ·

    Heather Hanna
    so, jeffy, you’re saying we should not fill it out so you can get paid mad cash?
    Yesterday at 10:21pm ·

    Jeff Railsback
    Yesterday at 10:23pm ·

    Nunzio Martin
    If there is a way to waste they will find it
    Yesterday at 10:44pm ·

    Beth Lindenberg Edgar
    We thought the same thing when ours arrived in the mail! What a waste.
    12 hours ago ·

    Darrin Nichter
    It is like when they sent out the letter that said you were going to get stimulous money in the mail a couple of years ago.
    9 hours ago ·

    Aleasha Welsh
    plus the money they spent on the superbowl commercial…
    9 hours ago ·

    Aaron Blasting
    Not that my input is necessary, but its my opinion that the census isnt what you think it is. From what i have seen and knowing how these things work after years of careful study, this huge push for a comprehensive census report is a nice innocuous way to spy on people with their consent. One could argue thats all it ever was, but this is different… See More. You have dudes actually hitting the streets, taking pictures and all that shit. Its not paranoid to be concerned about why the government is so concerned about anything CONSIDERING for one they use your money to do everything they do. that alone should have THEM under a microscope, not the people they are ripping off to than spy on. Make no mistake, the census is a way to openly spy on you, you can guess as to why.
    8 hours ago ·

    Joni Lee Hufford
    I got mine the other day and said the same thing…
    8 hours ago ·

    Elaine Wakefield Bigley
    It also provides stats for gov. money in your area so they say, if you want to be lieve that!
    8 hours ago ·

    Margo Froetschel
    Yeah, we got the letter too! Isn’t that just a waste of paper? WHy couldn’t they just include it with the census form that they’ll be sending us next week?
    7 hours ago ·

    Eric Carroll
    Wow, this was a hell of a response! I collected my thoughts here:
    3 minutes ago ·


    Eric Carroll
    Your tax dollars at work
    Your government actually spent time writing a letter, translating one line into several languages, printing, assembling, and mailing this thing out to every residence?
    10 hours ago via · Comment · LikeUnlike · Read original post
    Dave Warren and Jon Milliren like this.

    Jon Milliren
    Made the same observation when I got mine… waste of money.
    9 hours ago ·

    Dave Warren
    9 hours ago ·

    Selena Gribbin Barefoot
    I just opened my ‘government letter that informs me that another government letter will be arriving soon’ yesterday! If they were mailing letters to everyone, than why did they spend a fortune on celebrity endorsed commercials? Do more Americans really have cable than have postal service at their homes?
    7 hours ago ·


  4. Pingback: American Community Survey? | World (and Lunar) Domination

  5. Pingback: The American Community Survey – A letter to anyone who will listen/read/answer… | World (and Lunar) Domination

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