Census count is critical to our future

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

Americans by their nature don’t like other people poking around in their business.

That spirit of independence is in part what led to the founding of our great nation.

Few of us like people questioning us, especially if the question asker is the government.

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President Ronald Reagan once joked that the 10 most dangerous words uttered were: “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

But once every 10 years the government has some important questions, and we all need to answer them.

This month, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin its constitutionally mandated count of the American population, the 2010 Census.

And invariably some of the government naysayers will refuse to participate. But that’s a huge mistake that hurts our entire community.

Census data is used, in part, to help determine how billions of dollars of federal money is disbursed. And it’s also the basis for determining which areas receive political representation. A few years ago, Mississippi lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives because the Census showed our population had not kept up with other states.

Underreporting data can lead to dollars leaving our community.

We urge every single citizen to realize that this count is critical to our area’s livelihood in the future.

Despite what you may think about the government, this one count is extremely important. It’s also the law. Title 13 of the U.S. Code requires citizens to respond.

So please, do the right thing — and the legal thing — and participate in the Census.