Archive for September, 2009

Census goes too far with children

Child labor has been officially illegal in the United States since the late 1930s; that is, except for the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau is embarking on a massive, well-funded plan to use schoolchildren in grades k-12 across the country to serve as salespersons for the 2010 census.

In recent decades, the census has become more than the counting of people the Constitution envisioned. It has morphed into a multibillion-dollar project, backed by thousands of bureaucrats and designed to gather for Uncle Sam as much information on as many people as possible.

In one respect, this phenomenon is a not-unexpected outgrowth of the natural tendency of government to increase and retain power. As the amount of taxpayer dollars flowing into and out of the federal government has expanded exponentially in recent years, so also has the carrot-and-stick the feds employ to pressure states and local communities to do its bidding. Thus, the census is now marketed to states, counties, cities, …

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The World’s Most Expensive Road Signs

Drive along Interstate 575 just northwest of Atlanta, Georgia, and you’ll see signs proclaiming proudly that you are driving on a “Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (”stimulus road project” would sound so prosaic by comparison).  It’s almost like a religious experience — sightings of taxpayer dollars actually at work on projects for we the People who are paying billions for them. 

It does get you thinking.  For example, how much do these signs touting the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” cost?  Here in Georgia, we are informed by the state Department of Transportation that each such road project requires not one but four signs (one on each side of the road and at each end point of the project); and that each individual sign costs an average of $1206.  Thus, simply to inform the public that the “stimulus” money taken from us by the federal government is being used for a particular road project, $4824 of that money is spent on each …

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Swine Flu Hysteria, Pt. 2

The President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has the H1N1 flu.  He apparently contracted it at a summit last week in Argentina.  Uribe reportedly is continuing his duties as that country’s chief executive by phone and the internet while he recovers from the sickness at home.

Don’t worry.  The sky has not fallen on Colombia.  The country’s infrastructure has not crumbled.  That South American country’s economy has not ground to a halt.  Life goes on.  The country’s president is ill and he is recovering with proper treatment.

Maybe there’s a lesson here.  Stop the hysteria.  Take reasonable precautions, and treat those who become ill properly. 

Yet somehow here in the United States, the world’s only remaining superpower seems unable to keep a possible outbreak of the flu in proper perspective.  The recent, overblown “report” issued in mid-August by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology continues to be reported as fact, even though – as noted in …

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