My taxes are done, thank goodness. Completing the tax forms wasn't difficult. Rounding up all the records I needed was a greater challenge. I knew exactly where everything was supposed to be, but I'm not conscientious enough about putting every piece of paper in its designated place. I had a little stack of papers here, a little stack there, here a stack, there a stack...well, you get the idea. In fact, I found one small pile of receipts in a basket underneath my coffee table, stuffed there in the midst of a hasty clean-up. They were in a plastic grocery bag on which I'd carefully printed with a Sharpie marker: THIS IS NOT TRASH!
At least the taxes are done. There's one more piece of government-mandated paperwork I have to finish, then I can file all my receipts away again.
Have you ever heard of the American Community Survey? It's put out by the U.S. Census Bureau, who stated in the letter that accompanied it: "The Census Bureau chose your address, not you personally, as part of a randomly selected sample. You are required by United States law to respond to this survey."
The letter also states: "The information collected in the ACS will help decide where new schools, hospitals, and fire stations are needed. The information also is used to develop programs to reduce traffic congestion, provide job training, and plan for the healthcare needs of the elderly." Those goals seem worthwhile, don't they? Who wouldn't want to help out with that?
On the back of the survey form, the Census Bureau estimates that "for the average household, this form will take 38 minutes to complete. Ha! Maybe I'm not average, but it took me more than 38 minutes to gather up all the receipts I need to answer their questions about earnings and household costs. Questions such as how much my mortgage payment is and how much I spent in the last 12 months on gas, electricity, water, etc. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I've spent hours poring over old census records looking for information on ancestors, so I appreciate the work the Census Bureau does. I totally recognize the need to collect basic information about U.S. citizens. But I can't imagine why it's important for the government or anyone else to know what time I leave for work in the morning and how long it takes me to get there.
Before I started answering the survey questions, I did a little research about it on the Internet. Here's someone who has some concerns about it, and here's a publication that puts the best possible spin on it.
What do you think?