As required by the Constitution, every ten years the federal government undertakes a massive effort to count and gather information about Americans. The information impacts hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions about federal funding and policy. But most importantly, it will be the basis for the redistricting which determines Congressional representation.
The White House has proposed that the director of the Census, a Commerce Department employee, report to the White House. The White House contends this is no big deal.
"No big deal": the decision about whether to perform an actual count or use a sampling method, for instance. Mmm-hmm.
On the topic of sampling methods, I'm sure we're all familiar with the Lancet's excess-deaths study from 2006, now quite thoroughly discredited. This is the result of improper application of statistics, and particularly agenda-driven improper application of statistics. There are situations wherein it's impossible to perform an actual count of something or someones; where that's true (and I believe it was indeed true in Iraq), those hoping for true answers ought to be especially cautious in their methods, since the factors that make a real count impossible can also contribute to out-of-whack sampling error (as in the Lancet study - and this is giving them a lot of benefit of the doubt, as it seems that the misstatements in that report are all in support of the principal author's personal views).
This is the census. The basis for allocation of Congress representation. Should it be contained in the White House? Would Bush have been applauded for making this move - or vilified (more)?