What better way to manufacture excuses for eliminating social programs than to defund the government agency that tracks local poverty, education, and demographics?
Republicans in the House inexplicably voted this week to defund the American Community Survey (ACS), the nation’s main source of state and local data on affordable housing, household income, poverty, race, state-to-state migration, immigration, education level of the workforce, types of disabilities of local residents, and scores of other major topics.
The federal government uses the data to distribute more than $400 billion in federal formula funds each year, and the information helps communities and businesses decide where to build new roads, bridges, schools, homes, and stores. Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, International Council of Shopping Centers, and National Association of Home Builders consider the data vital.
The House proposed no alternative to collecting these data.
And as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, eliminating the ACS would actually increase the cost of the census because the Census Bureau would have to hire additional staff to make up for it.
Something in the Republican brain compels them to be as inefficient and foolhardy as possible. It’s a sight to behold.