Census Workers Sharpen No. 2 Pencils
Expect some mild fireworks this morning as the House oversight committee is meeting to figure out what went wrong, so, so wrong, with plans for the 2010 U.S. Census
It wasn’t that the U.S. Census Bureau didn’t have a plan. They gave $600 million to the Florida-based Harris Corp to develop 500,000 nifty hand-held computers. Census workers were going to carry the computers door-to-door and record information on all the people who didn’t fill out (and mail back) a census form. But as Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez glumly explained to a House appropriations subcommittee last week, Harris wasn’t making computers that Census Bureau employees were actually able to use.
So now there’s a new plan. The Bureau will hire an additional 600,000 temporary workers to knock on doors across the country, armed with paper forms and a writing implement. Those workers will fill the missing gaps of a census that determines federal and state funding as well as representation in Congress.
Will oversight committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) demand representatives from Harris go door-to-door themselves? Will ranking Republican Tom Davis (R-Va.) offer to lend state of the art computers designed during his IT company days? Stick with the streak for an update later in the day.