As I’ve mentioned before, Facebook is an effective way to learn how different I am from many of the people with whom I grew up. There are, fortunately, a number of folks there who are down. Some of them, though, just take my breath away.
Last evening, one of my former classmates was complaining about the amount of money the federal government has spent on Super Bowl advertising to promote the census. I was tempted to chime in but did not. If I did, I would have to ask the poster and his several assenters: Did you bother to find out exactly how much such advertising cost the federal government?
The fact is that advertising on the Super Bowl this year was a bargain. Rates fell this year from around $3 million per 30 seconds in 2009 to $2.5 to $2.8 million per 30 seconds in 2010. This is to advertise on programming that pulls a 40 rating and a 60 share, reaching 80 to 90 million Americans. That is a bargain.
And it’s a drop in the bucket when you consider the total amount appropriated to promote the census in advertising: $340 million. Which, when you consider the enormous resources that are allocated by the process of the census—which is, by the way, a constitutionally mandated process—is in itself chump change. The census literally determines how trillions of dollars are spent. I think spending $340 million to convince people to sit down with an ink pen and fill it out is worth the dime.
But it’s not worth the fight. It’s just not. These are folks whose minds have been so thoroughly pithed by the likes of Michele Bachmann Turner Overdrive that they view an innocuous and constitutional (see Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 3; it’s in there, really) process like the census with partisan suspicion. These are the same people who were shitting themselves because the President wanted to speak to school children. So I am afraid there is no use in laying out facts before them. It is a shame.