It looks as though key provisions of the Patriot Act may not survive the day. Senator Rand Paul has vowed that among other things he will do all he can to stop the bulk collection of phone records by the government. Good for him; we happen to agree with his stance and hope he is successful. Records should not be collected simply for the sake of collecting them in hopes of finding the boogeyman. But, we ask, why are a good many folks upset only about that?
The fact is that the government violates our basic rights in a good many other ways which we a people seem to accept. Withholding taxes provide a good example: why should you have to pay them as you go? If filing your taxes isn’t due until April 15th of the following year why must you pay any part of them ahead of time? Yet we tolerate that nonsense and are happy when we get a bit of our money back. But there’s no reason the government should get to use it interest free before the taxpayer can. Governments are no due special privilege in collecting monies due simply because they’re a government.
In like fashion, why are monies owed the government not subject to bankruptcy proceedings? They should be, you know. Why is the government’s claim to an insolvent individual greater than those of his other creditors? That it’s supposedly public money involved is no valid argument. There is really no such thing as public money as our will stays attached to it, and everyone a debtor owes wants their money; governments should have to compete with all other forces for ‘theirs’ as well.
Why must bank deposits over ten grand be reported to the government? So it can look out for illegal activity? But here we thought we were innocent until proven guilty; why ought anyone have to demonstrate to the government that that $11,000 was a lottery winning or a compensation for a loss, or even just cash saved up in a home safe which the owner decided he’s rather stash in the bank? It’s an insult to the individual when you think about it. The government has no right to monitor our financial activity without just cause. Merely that someone happened to make an unusually large deposit does not of necessity fit that bill.
These examples merely scratch the surface. We wonder whether the Income Tax itself is actually moral, seeing as it requires us to divulge to Washington and Lansing and Detroit what we make for a living, an idea which is at least arguably none of their businesses. And we’ve refrained from another complaint against the government which ticks us off: insulting questions at the border, an issue regular readers know we find truly galling. Be that as it may, we’ve let the government get off with an awful lot of things which we should not. Maybe, just maybe, something such as gutting the Patriot Act will start us on the road towards really reigning in Washington over reach. One can hope so, anyway.