I am a regular user of government statistics. Often in discussion politics the simplest way to address any question is to use facts. For example, there are articles that claim that violence against Muslims is on the increase. A careful examination of real data shows that it is not (the victims of hate crimes historically are blacks and Jews). So, I was appalled today to discover that the US was no longer publishing the Statistical Abstract. The Statististical abstract has been in print since 1878, it is a good source for compiled statistics in numerous categories. It has been available on line for free for a few year. In the past I purchased bound volumes but I have accessed the data tables directly since they have been available (for free). The rationale for this cut was that data was available in other sources. Of course that is true, but for non professional users, it will no longer be easy to get data from a well vetted consistent source. I assume this is another Republican attempt to privatize the government. The recent volumes of the statistical abstract have sold for under $45.00 dollars. The new commercial publisher will sell the book for over $150.00. The data tables will no longer be available on line for individual users.
How much will this save: “The agency’s 2012 budget would eliminate the Statistical Compendia Branch, which compiles the Statistical Abstract and other publications (such as the “County and City Data Book”). This would save $2.9 million and cut 24 jobs” .
If I were the suspicious sort, I would see this is part of a stealth effort to keep information away from ordinary citizens, but I am not that suspicious. It is simply a foolish attempt to save money.