Gentle reminder

The recent fiscal cliff negotiations notwithstanding, things happen in the nation's capital that we can all agree on, and one of those is the taking of measurements. Whether it's the unemployment rate, the Consumer Price Index, the deficit or anything else, accurate data is essential if the government is going to get anything right.

As we have seen, the feds have ample ways to make bad decisions. Bad data shouldn't be one of them.

That brings us to the Economic Census, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau every five years. Forms for the 2012 version have been sent to some 4 million U.S. businesses, with a Feb. 12 deadline.

Why should we care? Because "travel agency" and "tour operator" are among the travel-related business sectors that are included in this survey, and the most recent government data about these business sectors is from 2007.

That's why.

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