Tag Archives: judd gregg

Senator Gregg: Earmarked for Failure

Gregg Withdrawal

Someone made an oopsie.

Oh, Judd Gregg. Maybe it is a good thing you turned down that Commerce Secretary post on the grounds of “irresolvable conflicts” in early February. (In reality, it is because the position is now cursed — much like the Defense Against Dark Arts post. Yes, I did just make a Harry Potter reference.) It’s a good thing, Senator Gregg (R-NH), because you definitely have a little conflict-of-interest mess on your hands now.

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The 2010 Census and the Commerce Department

One of the constitutionally prescribed duties of Congress is performing a census every ten years. The census is conducted by the Commerce Department and represents a massive undertaking in trying to count every man, woman, and child in America.

The political implications of this are enormous. As the premier redistricting blogger on this site, the implications are huge. Congressional seats are won and lost by this counting. Utah lost out on a seat to North Carolina by 857 people. They even went to the Supreme Court to try to have Mormon missionaries counted as part of their state’s population total. The point is that people take this very seriously, as federal money also depends on the amount of people within each jurisdiction. Also, that one seat was won by a Democrat, Brad Miller. He know is in a great spot to run for Senate and has already taken the lead on many legislative issues. This is all because of those 857 people spread throughout the state. The bigger issue is a broader sort of undercounting. It’s incredibly difficult to count the homeless and transient populations of America. It requires a massive investment and effort by the government. One stage is the forms and individual census takers that go out to every jurisdiction. Another one is that in specific areas, a truly thorough count is done in order to see the percent error represented by the original efforts and to apply that nationally. That adjusted number doesn’t count for redistricting purposes, but does for federal money.

This has been in the news because of our new likely Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg. Senator Gregg voted to eliminate the Commerce Department entirely and against emergency census funding in 2000 to make sure everybody was really counted. This led to outrage from Hispanic and Black elected officials, as those are the populations most undercounted in census efforts. President Obama (I still love those words) has announced that Gregg would not be overseeing the census in order to assuage these lawmakers. Basically, it’s a really interesting situation and shows the importance of something that most Americans don’t really think that much about. It also shows the pitfalls with President Obama’s effort to really appoint a bipartisan cabinet.

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