Invasion of Privacy Part II: 2007 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons

Several months ago I wrote about receiving the American Community Survey.

[link edited for length]

As if the American Community Survey is not enough of a frontal attack on privacy, I received Form SBO-1 from the US Department of Commerce last week. What are they asking for? Information on my 2007 Self-Employment. Are you as surprised as I am that the year they are studying is 2007?

This survey is done only once every five years. I can only wonder what the odds are of receiving both the American Community Census and this Survey in the same year? I must be a lucky guy!

I wonder if the same person that came to my front door to check on the status of my American Community Survey will be sent back. She inquired as to whether or not I had sent it in, and I answered truthfully. “Yes, I sent it back”, was my reply.

I believe in privacy. I believe that anything I must submit to a Federal Agency that ONLY I know, should be requested voluntarily or demanded via a warrant. Otherwise, I am being singled out by the Federal Government while my neighbor is not. And that is not equal treatment.

Privacy lost will never be recovered. It is only because so many cooperate, that they continue to coerce us into even more cooperation.

But this same information is then used to undermine the freedoms and liberties we know we should have. Principles are worthless if they are not stood upon, and I will stand on my principles here.

My race, my sex, my education, my source of financing should have no bearing on government decisions.  They have no bearing on the success or failure of my business.  I alone bear that responsibility.

If I do not answer the questions, I face a $5,000 fine. If I do not answer truthfully, I face a $10,000 fine. I wonder how they will know I did not answer truthfully if they do not already know the answers?

To realize that the Commerce Department is busy collecting data on 2007, the year prior to the collapse of the economy, is a surprise. Perhaps they want to determine what was working before the wheels came off the economic engine of Small Business Owners and the self-employed, such as myself. Think again.

There are no survey questions on how to improve the business environment. There are no questions asking what conditions need to be present to hire additional employees. There are no questions asking if I am even making a profit. There are no questions about the personal sacrifices I have made in order for my personal business to succeed. If you are like me, you may wonder why that is. The truth is the only concern they have is how much they can tax you.

Here is what they want to know about me:

In 2007, did another company or organization own more than 50% of this business?

In 2007, did employees under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan own more than 50% of this business?

(Basically did anyone else own more than 50% of my business)

In 2007, was this business jointly owned by a husband and wife, and who primarily operates the business.

Did two or more members of the same family own the majority of this business?

What was the percentage of ownership of the top four owners, and their job titles?

How did I acquire the ownership?

When did I acquire ownership?

What is my function?

How many hours per week do I work?

Is this my primary source of income?

Have I owned any other businesses prior to this one?

What is my education level?

What is my sex?

What was my age on December 31, 2007

Am I from the United States?

Am I Spanish/Hispanic/Latino? (Apparently these are NOT races for this survey)

What is my race? (If I were Spanish/Hispanic/Latino, there is not that option. There are 14 other choices, and I can write in Spanish/Hispanic/Latino if I choose to do so.)

Am I a veteran?

Am I a disabled veteran?

When did I start this business(what year)?

Where did I get the capital to start this business?

How much capital did I use to start this business?

Did this business operate from my home?

As a franchise?

What sources were used to finance expansion or pay for capital improvements in 2007?

Which of the following customers provide me with 10% or more of my business's total sales/services?

Federal Government?

State and local Government?

Other Businesses?

Individuals?

What percentage of my total sales was exports outside the United States?

In 2007, did I establish operations outside the United States?

In 2007, did I transfer any business functions outside the United States?

What language do I conduct business in?

What type of employees do I have?

Options include Full-time paid, Part-time paid, Paid day laborers, Temporary, Leased, and contractors.

What benefits were totally or partially paid?

Health insurance, contributions to retirement plans, profit sharing, Paid holidays, vacation and sick leave?

Did I have a web site in 2007?

Do I make purchases online?

Am I still in business?

If not, why not?

There are many options. Yet the one that should be included if they send this survey out it 2012 is: Government Interference in Free Market Capitalism.

I am not sure how many of you may have also gotten this survey. If you did, I would love to know how you handled it.


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