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