In other words, the person the Census Bureau imagines it is targeting with its communications plan is not someone who looks at himself as a net payer of taxes but someone who looks at himself as a net taker of government funding.
He is a moocher.
In fact, the Census Bureau's communications plan says its studies indicate that the way to sell people on participating in the census is to tell them that they get "benefits" for doing so.
"These studies consistently show that messages that increase knowledge of the benefits of filling out the Census improve motivation and favorability towards Census participation," says page 24 of the plan. "New primary research among a wide range of target audiences further confirms the importance of communicating Census benefits."
What kind of "benefits" is the Census Bureau talking about? It elaborates on the very next page.
"Consistently, across all audiences, statements related to the benefits of Census participation were motivating to respondents," says page 25. "Filling out the Census provides an opportunity to help people in your local community get certain benefits, such as healthcare, school programs, day care and job training. The Census determines how over $300 billion per year in federal funds get divided among states and local areas of the country. Information from the Census helps the government plan for future improvements to schools, roads, and fire and police stations."
To be sure, the Census Bureau's plan does note that the census is used to apportion representation in Congress. But that is not the main thrust of its platform, those immortal words: "It's in our hands."
Says the plan: "One of the main objectives of the messaging that supports the 'It's in Our Hands' platform is to communicate the benefits of filling out the Census form, or to explain, 'What's in it for me?'"
Simply put, the government is selling the 2010 census to a population it considers already sold on the welfare state.
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