Budget posturing continues within Washington, as various bills for the fiscal year 2013 budget are going through the unsanitary sausage-making that passes for legislating these days. There are plenty of moves being made that have raised the ire of science and technology advocates, but given how badly the process went last year, with the negotiations, failures, and binding commitments that Congress is trying to get out of as we speak. This drama is unlikely to be resolved for a few months, but in the absence of other things to obsess about, much attention is focused on the possible changes.
As usual, there’s a fair amount of nickel and diming to find new cuts. Small agencies and small items are easier to target and cut than their bigger cousins. One of those small cuts is the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is an annual survey distributed to 3 million residents – less than one percent of the population – to gather data on a breadth of demographic information. Here’s the Census Bureau Director discussing the impact of losing the survey (as well as the 2012 Economic Census cancelled by the bill).