Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slashing the Census Budget

Census cuts could end some surveys

The Census Bureau would have to make severe cuts in the type of data it collects from American households and businesses if its budget is slashed 25 percent, as proposed under a bill being considered by the House Appropriations Committee, according to experts on the census.

The agency, which is closing half its regional offices to save money, has warned that cuts that big would likely mean an end to next year’s Economic Survey, which is conducted every five years and is used to calculate the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, among other things. There also could be deep cuts in the American Community Survey, a monthly survey of households that provides detailed information on a wide variety of habits, from commuting patterns to household income levels.

While the Obama administration has proposed reducing the agency’s budget from $1.15 billion to $1.02 billion, House lawmakers are considering a bill that would give the Census Bureau $885 million in 2012 — almost $300 million less. That is much deeper than the 6 percent cut being proposed for the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau.

Census Budget: House Bill Would Gut Economic Monitoring, Endanger GDP And Other Stats

"It would have major, permanent impacts on the nation's economic and demographic statistics," the bureau said, according to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), a member and past chair of the House Joint Economic Committee.

Maurine Haver, the head of the National Association of Business Economists' statistics committee...did note that collecting less information is good only for people who are not interested in answers.

"I just have no clue what they are thinking," Haver said. "If you want to run the country not based on information but just based on your ideology, this is fine -- if you don't need to know what's going on out there."

Also, The Consequences of Budget Cuts.

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