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Congress should come to its senses and end the census

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In the midst of a weekslong shutdown and a furloughed, demoralized federal workforce, the U.S. Census Bureau has been sitting pretty. It has up to two months of carryover funding, and it recently got a new head in former Peace Corps senior bureaucrat Steven Dillingham. Dillingham’s unanimous Senate confirmation vote speaks to a rare bipartisan consensus nowadays that the government must perform and complete a nationwide census next year.

President Trump’s proposal to include a “citizenship question” on the 2020 count has brought the census, and the Bureau’s problems, back into the spotlight. Just like every other government agency, census operations are plagued by government waste and inefficiency. The census has gotten more expensive and continues to outpace inflation, despite a declining number of individuals per household and a rise in low-cost digital correspondence.

According to the Government Accountability Office, “the average cost for counting a housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to around $92 in 2010.” There is also questionable spending. In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau spent $2.5 million on Super Bowl ads that were “dry, uninformative, and culturally obscure,” according to leading television critics. Given the bureau’s cost escalation, wasteful spending,........

© Washington Examiner