Census fortune cookieThe future of $400 billion in federal funding could be determined by fortune cookies. Tsue Chong Co. is inserting messages like “Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010” & “Real Fortune is being heard” into 2 million cookies shipping to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The census cookies are part of a $340 million ad campaign to encourage people to fill out the form themselves instead of paying census workers upwards of $20 per hour (of your tax dollars) to come to them.

The census has already ballooned to $14.7 billion, nearly quadruple the cost of the previous census. An audit of the Census Bureau uncovered millions of dollars in waste from fraudulent travel reimbursement to paid training for employees that quit before working a single day.