The Politico has a good story today on the funding problems facing the 2010 U.S. Census. As I noted last month, earlier attempts to upgrade data-gathering technology through a Republican-friendly contractor ultimately failed, leaving the Bureau with a significant shortfall. To make matters worse, the Bush administration is funding these shortfalls with money that had been pegged for projects prioritized by the Democratic Congress:

In essence, Democrats are being asked to give up their priorities to help pay for cost overruns on a contract which the administration admits it made substantial errors in managing.

The cuts would have the most impact on the Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a loan program benefiting the domestic steel industry.

“It seems more logical that the president should be proposing cuts to programs that he finds important to cover his administration’s blunders,” said Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who heads the Appropriations panel. “It is incomprehensible ... that this administration is willing to fund as an emergency the war in Iraq costing $370 million a day. But for less than a day in Iraq, the administration insists on an offset for the 2010 Census.”

Emphasis mine. I've come to believe that January 2009 will resemble not so much a new beginning as it will a giant hangover, an empty wallet, and angry creditors not far behind.

--Mori Dinauer