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Statistically, some of us belong elsewhere

Every 10 years, functionaries deep within the federal Office of Management and Budget take fresh Census data and redesign the country - whether it needs it or not.

This year, the OMB decided that Putnam County, assigned to the Charleston metropolitan statistical area in 1973, should be part of the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton statistical area instead.

Lincoln countians, linked to the Charleston metro area in 2003, were also out of whack and should pledge allegiance to the Huntington metro area instead.

When the Gazette asked why, OMB pointed to the Federal Register's definition of what should be done with "outlying counties." The rules specify that such a county will be assigned to the metropolitan statistical area "with which it has the strongest commuting tie."

Determined how? What for? OMB didn't say.

Medieval scholars were ridiculed for fretting over such questions as whether angels occupied space, and thus, how many could dance on the head of a pin.

The OMB exercise amounts to deciding that some angels are dancing on the heads of the wrong pins and should be reassigned.

The American people pay for this. Are there conferences? Do people get bonuses if they meet metrics?

Only after Washington sweats out such nonsense will a cry for more revenue have any credibility.



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