Sunday, April 19, 2009

Private industry trumps government FAIL

I was listening to a report on NPR tonight where they let Newt Gingrich whinge about using statistical sampling methods to determine population demographics for the census. His problem is that they're not counting every single head but using time-tested methods of estimation. The reporter says that it really wouldn't be worth sending a census worker to every single doorstop (or very feasible), and Newt replies that private companies like FedEx go to every single address in the nation.

Okay, well, so? If FedEx could keep a satisfied customer base without delivering all of the packages it's paid to, wouldn't market forces obligate them to let a few packages slip through the cracks? Newt can't make a satisfying argument against good sampling methods, so he plays on fears about non-white minorities as an increasing proportion of the American population. The Republican argument against efficient and accurate sampling methods clearly says, "But by God, if you miss one white family, you'll mischaracterize the entire nation!"

I'm pretty sure that Newt's been through high school, and that he damn well knows he's being disingenuous. The wide-eyed Republican who doesn't trust your high-falutin' expertise is getting pretty old, and totally transparent.

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