Monday, May 10, 2010

Representation without taxation

A Census Bureau person was on the news saying that, if conservatives don't participate in the census (due to their presumed anti-government sentiment), then they will be under-represented for the next 10 years in Congress, school funding, highway funding, etc. But really, everyone feels like "their position" is under-represented, whether they are liberal or conservative. We all believe that most people should think like we do, and that the system is stacked against us (and many times there are real abuses of the system that lend credibility to our assumptions).

While the census will never eliminate this "perceived" misrepresentation, neither will it result in an accurate count upon which to base our representation for the next decade. That's because the census is about counting warm bodies without regard to their citizenship, instead of counting citizens. Take a look at the form here. There are no questions about citizenship, only ethnic origin. Now, I'm not opening the whole immigration can of worms here, I'm just saying ... if we're going to use this count to establish our representation in the United States Congress, let's base it on the number of United States citizens.

Worse yet, the Census itself is a redundancy! The IRS already knows how many people are in this country, where they live, and how much money they make. They even know my kids' names and social security numbers. So, why are we counting everybody again, with an entire separate bureaucracy? Most everybody on the IRS rolls is at least a tax-filer, even if they are not a tax-payer. This seems like a much better way to establish congressional representation -- base it on law-abiding taxpayers/tax-filers, not a head count of every warm body. The result: the end of representation without taxation. The bonus: eliminating the Census Bureau will save billions of dollars, and eliminate one little bureaucracy. We can accomplish the constitutionally required count without them.

There are two possibilities regarding my theories: they make too much sense to become government reality, or I am way off base. Honestly, it could be either. Maybe the census is a wonderful thing. What do you think of the decennial enumeration? Do you have strong feelings about completing (or not completing) yours? Have you been visited by a Census worker, and what was that like? I ended up sending mine in before they came looking for me.

--By Chris Mammen, president, M3 Glass Technologies, Irving, Texas


Adam said...

Well it is clear you are from Texas as you speak a thought clearly and to the point. I agree with your points and note that this type of "Common Sense" has long since departed Washington.

Marco said...

The census is a tough problem, but its important. We need to know as much as we can about the demographics of our local and regional communities, as well as the nation, regardless of whether people are taxpayers, tax filers, or citizens. The census is a part of this. I'm sure there is room for improvement, but not counting, or discounting, people that reside in these communities, for whatever reason, is not helpful.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!I don't think I want the IRS to have any more to say about my life--period. This idea is just mis-guided. Have you been watching too much Glen Beck? That's a whole different addiction, isn't it?

Michie said...

Adam is way off base. I'm also from TX and have never been accused of speaking clearly and to the point. On the census, you would think that whatever is missed by the IRS could be accounted for by the USPS, school enrollments or other existing sources. So yes, I think the census SHOULD be done away with. But so should the Electoral College and winning by a plurality instead of a majority. But since these things would favor one or the other party (or neither in the case of voting), they will not likely ever get done.

Doug said...

Chris raises great questions. His solutions make too much sense for Washington.

The same people who couldn't bring the Capitol Visitor's Center project in on time and within budget are now going to "fix" our health care.

The census is at least constitutional, even if it will cost taxpayers an estimated $14.7BILLION. If only it counted actual citizens...

Go to to learn more.

Anonymous said...

What does this have to do with glass?

On a political note, if you believe that questioning this portion of our constitution and our government is important to an open and vigorous democracy, then please allow others on principle to raise questions about portions of our government that concerns them without challenging them how "American" they are.

Finally, the government does many things right, how come you guys never complain about the endless interstate highways?

Chris Mammen said...

What does this have to do with glass? Well, "Anonymous," (if that's your real name!) it's true that the connection is not immediately clear on the surface. But it's all related. Speaking of related, are you related to the other Anonymous who commented earlier? Small world!

Anyhow, everything Congress does affects each of us as individuals, as well as our businesses -- whether you are a business owner or work for one. Consider all the laws, regulations, and agencies that you read about just here on this blog. Last week, Stewart Jeske discussed the recovery money; the week before, Sahely discussed a solar tax exemption; and check out the March blogs from Katy and Sahely, as well. And if you really want an education in how regulation affects our industry, check out Max Perilstein's "From the Fabricator" blog. So clearly we have an interest in who represents us, and how our representation is established (the census). Besides the blog just being a rambling of what was on my mind, which after all is what a blog is, there really is a connection to our livelihoods in the glass industry!

That being said, the political comments confused me. Not sure where they came from or where they're going. But I'm glad you're out there! You're a great American!! See ya out there on the interstate, which I love! (But stay out of the left lane! That's a topic for a future blog, if I can somehow tie it to the glass industry for you. Glass trucks driving in the passing lane, maybe?)

PS Thanks to everyone who commented (yes, everyone). It's nice to know someone's out there reading! -CM

Mrs. J.L. Chronic, Sr. said...

We totally agree with Mr. Mammen. My husband and I chose not to answer our census form for the very same reasons cited by Mr. Mammen. We feel that our yearly tax return contains enough information and if they really want to know, check with the IRS. When the census taker came to our home, I politely pointed her to the "NO SOLICITING" sign on our door, to which she argued that she was not a solicitor. I told her that in fact she was "soliciting information that we did not care to disclose". She came back two days later and waited in her car until my husband came home from work. When she approached him, he told her basically the same thing I told her and asked her not to return. So she went across the street and tried asking our neighbors (who did not answer theirs either) about us. They told her no more than that we are nice people. We agree that the Census Bureau should be dismantled and the money used in better ways; for example, how about feeding hungry AMERICAN CITIZENS. Our government is deep enough in debt and dragging us down with it. Oh, but that's ok...let's use money we don't have to help other countries first.
Mrs. J.L.Chronic, Sr.