Shortly after getting my Census form in the mail, I got a missive from the Libertarian Party raising some of the questions raised in my Sunday column.
The e-mail quoted Libertarian Party Chairman William Redpath as saying, "The Libertarian Party believes that the federal government’s current census procedures are unconstitutional, unnecessary, and too expensive. We believe that the census is constitutionally limited to collecting only one piece of information about each residence: the number of persons living in it."
Redpath argues the Constitution only empowers Congress to count people in order to apportion Congress, leaving out the mention of direct taxes.
"The 2010 census is expected to cost over $14 billion," Redpath says. "A recent report from the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce indicates that preparations for the 2010 census have already been filled with waste and bloat. A proper census, limited to just a headcount, would be far less expensive."
As for the promise that all that other information will be kept secret, the e-mail points out that David Kopel of the Cato Institute has written about how, during World War I, Census information was used by the federal government to track down draft resisters. During World War II, the Justice Department used Census data to determine where Japanese-Americans lived so they could be rounded up and hauled off to concentration camps.
Here is what Texas Congressman Ron Paul, one-time Libertarian and Republican presidential candidate, has to say: