retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The StoreFront BackTalk blog has an interesting piece in which it bemoans the fact that "on May 10, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget package that eliminates funding for the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), which collects large amounts of data useful to retailers under the census’s umbrella."

What is distressing to the blog about this vote - which, to be clear, is a long way from becoming law - "is that data from the ACS couldn’t be accurately generated by private-sector surveys. At a time when retailers can finally sift through huge datasets cost-effectively, this one could disappear ... This is not a good program to kill. The ACS, which collects information from about 2 million different households each year, gathers more detailed economic and demographic data than the every-10-year census (it’s a replacement for the old long-form census, for anyone who remembers being selected for that particular long march). The data gives a more statistically accurate picture, down to the city level, than anything else available."
KC's View:
It seems to me that, without getting too political here, this is the kind of discussion that is fraught with philosophical landmines, especially in an election year.

Republicans want to cut the budget and get government off the backs of the people. Except that in this case - and no doubt in other selected cases - there will be government programs that, if eliminated, could actually hurt the private sector. But we live in a world where, on both sides of the aisle, adult conversations, compromise and budget-cutting-with-a-scalpel are less and less possible, giving way to ideological posturing and an unwillingness to compromise and work with the other side.

Saving ACS may require more maturity than most people in Congress can muster.