To the editor:
As a democracy, it is essential to know how citizens feel about all issues facing America. Politicians should be aware of public opinion, not just those issues that come to a vote in traditional elections. That is why I was sad to see Rep. Kevin Yoder and the House GOP vote to cut funding to the American Community Survey, a survey conducted since the time of Thomas Jefferson in between the Census. On the same day, Yoder and the House GOP voted to cut funding to the American National Election Studies and all political science related funding from the National Science Foundation. Some of that funding makes it directly to the faculty and students at Kansas University. Without such studies, we must trust the news media, political parties, interest groups and politicians to discern the will of the people.
Budget cuts must be made, but the amount saved in these cuts is miniscule compared with the value of these surveys for our democracy. Policymakers, businesses and scholars all rely on this data, and one would expect our elected representatives to value the opinion of the people as well. This is one more step in removing the voice of the common citizen from the halls of the Capitol. I hope Yoder can take initiative to roll back these harmful changes.