YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK: Americans Distrust Government Too Much to Answer Census Questions, So Let’s Threaten ‘Em, Says Official.

Among the problems the Census Bureau faces in getting Americans to answer questions, complained an official in a presentation last week, is that Americans consider nosy questions a threat to their privacy, especially when posed by a government they distrust. The solution? Favor the “stick” above “carrot” when mailing out questionnaires for the American Community Survey. Specifically, the official recommended emphasizing legal consequences for people who don’t cough up desired data.

Tasha Boone, Assistant Division Chief for the American Community Survey, made her points on October 9 to the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations, one of several Census Advisory Committees. That “perceptions of ‘irrelevant’ and ‘unnecessary’ questions raise concerns about privacy” and that “distrust of government is pervasive” were among several hurdles she noted to gathering information from the public.

Jst a thought, but a bit of self-awareness might be lacking in the preference she expressed, among three mail designs for the American Community Survey, for the existing one that threatens in bold, capital letters, “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.”

That should settle those privacy and trust issues.

But if Tasha Boone is unclear on the concept of unproductive approaches, she’s correct that “distrust of government is pervasive.”

Well, a government that hires Tasha Boones. . . .