Those Annoying Census Commercials

You can’t turn on the television or radio these days without being bombarded by ads urging you to fill out and return your census form. This is especially true if you have watched the NCAA Tournament over the weekend where the commercials were played constantly.

One of the most common tag lines is “We can’t move forward til you mail it back.” The idea is that if you don’t fill out your census forms to let the government know you exist, hospitals, roads, schools, government office buildings, and other infrastructure will be inadequate. After all, we need to “get our fair share of federal dollars,” right? All of this loses sight of the one legitimate purpose of the census, that being Congressional apportionment.

This entire exercise clearly illustrates the power of the free market relative to the incompetent and inefficient government. After all, if hospitals, schools, roads, etc. were provided by the free market, then entrepreneurs would add to the existing infrastructure based on need. That need would be expressed as high enough prices and/or crowding that leads one to believe that additional services are necessary and can be supported in the free market.

So, on one hand, we have the free market which allocates all these resources efficiently based on need and for free. On the other hand, every 10 years, the government spends $13.7 to $14.5 billion in a futile attempt to replicate what the market does. I’m sure our new health care system will be just as efficient!

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4 Replies to “Those Annoying Census Commercials”

  1. This is the most ridiculous thing I have read.

    If we completely relied on the free market, then poorer areas of towns would not have hospitals or schools. There would be no such thing as libraries, public parks or finished roads.

    Those roads between Albuquerque and Santa Fe — who would pay for them? The free market? Only a fool would think that this would work for all Americans.

    If you think that a government that rules best is the government that rules least, perhaps you should go to areas where the rule of law is not very strong. Say, Somalia or the border area of Mexico.

    Your plan would merely lead to a plutocracy where the Haves have basic services like sewage or roads and the Have Nots are out of luck.

  2. Richard,
    It is not the “Have’s” responsiblity to provide for the “Have not tried’s”.
    True the roads between Santa Fe and Alb would not be maintained. But since the residents in that part of the State believe fossil fuels are evil there should be hiking trails instead of Interstates and solar toilets instead of sanitary sewers.

  3. Why not go to Cuba, Venezuela, or Argentina? If you like government planning and control of the economy, go there to see how it works first hand. I would suggest that Richard move to say Cuba, where he will be paid by the government for whatever he does. And also live in squalor like almost all Cubans (government officials excepted.) The history of countries that use large scale government instead of private enterprise is abundant. But there is only one country that has resisted the lure of supposed government noblesse where well meaning bureaucrats take care of everything, and that’s the US. And not surprisingly, the US has led all other countries in standard of living.

  4. Buddy, who would pay for the roads, say, from your neighborhood to I-25? Wait, I-25 wouldn’t be paid for either… umm… well, how about the roads from your house to work?

    Who do you think pays for those now? And that sort of “hippy bashing” is really still around? I didn’t know it was still 1999.

    Christopher, US does not lead all other countries in standard of living. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

    US is 13th behind states with state-run health care. Oops.

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