I just spotted the worst U.S. Census ad yet. Several D.C. buses now sport huge ads on their sides that read (approximately — I’m doing this from memory), “If we don’t know how many people there are, we won’t know how many buses we need.” Yes, you will. A business knows about supply and demand. If operated as a business, Metro would know how many buses it needs without the census. But, increasingly, we’re an allotment society. The ad betrays the way bureaucrats, drawn to central planning (namely because they get to do the planning), think. Plus, it shows why we’re being lobbied so heavily about the Census forms, which most people fill out as a matter of course. Fill out the Census, and get something for yourself, even if it’s a bus you don’t intend to ride.
– Charlotte Hays is editor of InCharacter.org.