The federal government, once seen as more of a necessary nuisance rather than an inhibitory force, has interjected itself into every possible aspect of American life. Americans have reached a point where government, through one of its hundreds of agencies, can affect every second of everyday - announced or otherwise.
No matter the agenda or whether or not intentions are sincere, the government has passed regulations, sent down executive orders, and created agencies that have taken freedom, convenience, and monetary security from American citizens. Although, when divvied up into small doses, it's hard to comprehend the sheer size and reach of the government. So, in order to better help you grasp the government’s size, scope, and daily effect they have on your life - here are the Top 5 Worst Government Powers That Can Affect You & Your Freedom.
5) The EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency, a name that sounds innocent enough - I mean who doesn't want to protect the environment, right? Like most government agencies, the EPA started out as a good-intentioned agency, but with increased regulatory practices coupled with continually overstepping its bounds, the EPA has become government at its worst.
Most recently, the EPA has been taken to court by state officials in Virginia concerning land rights. In the short, the EPA has made the claim that water (yes, water) can be regulated as a pollutant, if there is too much of it, and if the EPA wins, homeowners and property owners could be forced to hand their plot of land over to the government. This isn't the first time a case like this has arisen either. Earlier this year, a fearless couple from Idaho was finally able to have their day in court, in order to fight outrageous EPA regulations. The case started after the EPA threatened the couple with fines and an official order, which prohibited them from building a home on so-called protected wetlands - despite the fact that the couple had legally purchased the property in 2005.
The EPA is not only targeting private property, a page taken right from the United Nations' Agenda 21, but they've heightened their devastating regulations on coal and oil as well - ultimately causing jobs to be lost or production costs to increase, which then get passed along to the American public.
Once intended to fill the void of Captain Planet and fight the Hoggish Greedly's of the world, the EPA has spiraled violently out of control. Between over-regulating industries that benefit America and incriminating innocent property owners in an attempt to rid them of their land, the EPA continues to exemplify the current state of our government.
4) The TSA: Arguably the most hands on government agency, the TSA has become a growing (and groping) concern for travelers all across America. Although billed as an agency that is impenetrable and necessary for protecting America, the evidence proves quit the contrary.
For instance, the botched bomb drill in Minnesota, where they kind of forgot to inform local police that such a drill was taking place. Then there was the metal detector fiasco in New York, where an entire terminal at JFK had to be evacuated because a metal detector had been neglected to be plugged in. Or maybe we could just look at the countless number of guns that slip through security every year - which just further proves their irrelevance and incompetence.
In their defense, however, the TSA has done some very admirable things, as proved in their "Top 10 Good Catches of 2011" blog posting. Which among other things, included the seizing of firearms, small chunks of C4, a science project and - the greatest hidden threat to American security - turtles.
All in all, the TSA is nothing more than an intrusive government agency, whose sole purpose is to intimidate and control the American people. Although their incompetence can provide extremely laughable and entertaining news snippets, at the end of the day I'd rather just have my freedom.
As a side note: If you Google "list of terrorists that the TSA has caught", the top listing is the aforementioned blog post, which is duly followed by pages filled with articles clarifying that the TSA has never caught a single terrorist.
3) Quantitative Easing: Quantitative Easing, also known as QE 1, 2, 3, and now 4, is the central banks' process of injecting money into the economy, by way of purchasing securities with money that they have created - I believe the industry jargon for "money created," is "writing checks your ass can't cash."
QE is possibly the biggest threat to the monetary stability of Americans, yet often goes unnoticed. Most likely because such subjects are cluttered with differing analyses, not to mention they're just plain boring to say the least. So I'll try to break it down for you, in the most exciting way possible.
Basically, the Federal Reserve, currently headed by Ben Bernanke, decides that the economy needs a little boost. Usually, the Fed would cut interest rates to create stimulation in the markets, but the interest rates are already at near zero and can't be cut anymore. So, instead of allowing markets to work themselves out, they decide to pump money into the economy. It's a measure that sounds all well and good, until you realize that it causes inflation - ultimately forcing the American public to pay more money for the same product.
Look at this way: The government decides that it's OK for your dollar to now be worth 2% less, the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate, than it was last year. Figuring 2011's average income of nearly $43,000, it's like getting paid $860 less - or the equivalent of 2.5 months of gasoline costs for the average American.
Of course, the elitists will educate anyone who dares to defy the validity of this practice, citing that it's just too complex for the great un-washed to understand. I say, it doesn't take a genius to apply common sense to the issue and conclude that, at best, these practices are a bad shake for the American people.
2) The IRS: Need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyways. Over 70,000 pages in length, the U.S. tax code is possibly the single most confusing and lengthy document in all of the world's history. Over the years, the IRS and the tax code have acquired substantial increases in size and power. Of which, it has reached a point where the ability to make just about every American's life a living hell and take their money or property is as simple as a flick of a pen.
The backbone of the IRS is comprised of over 94,000 employees, roughly one employee for every 3,100 in America - that's the total population, not just tax payers. Many of which, assuredly, are utilized in performing audits on American tax payers each year. Which, coincidentally enough, are on the rise for America's wealthiest.
In a report released in March of this year, IRS audits for those making above $500,000 jumped significantly in 2011. With the lowest being a 2% jump in audits for earners making between $500,000 and $1 million and the highest being a 12% jump in audits for earners making $10 million or more. I'm sure this fluctuation has nothing to do with President Obama's agenda to excoriate America's successful, nor could it be a backlash from his then-recent failure to raise taxes on the rich. One could almost buy into that sentiment, that is if the IRS, under the Obama Administration, didn't create the Global High Wealth Industry Group in the fall of 2009 - whose sole purpose is to audit the rich.
In addition to issuing audits, the IRS has the power to seize property, assets, bank accounts, garnish wages, and close your business, if you owe back taxes. Not to mention the late fees, interest, and penalties that they have the ability to tack on to your tax bill, for a multitude of reasons. In the worst of cases, they can even get you for tax evasion and you'll be singing Taxman with Wesley Snipes in no time. The Senate even passed a measure that would have granted the authority to the IRS to revoke your passport, if you owed $50,000 or more in taxes - a measure that appears to have been dropped before the House passed the bill in early July.
Although the importance of tax enforcement is crucial in keeping America afloat, the power that the IRS is currently accustomed to is simply too much. Scrap the code, flat tax it and cut the IRS into a 1/20th of its current size - problem solved.
1) National Defense Authorization Act: Undoubtedly the most disturbing bill passed into law, in all of American history - and trust me, that's no easy feat. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), affords the government "the legal authority to keep people suspected of terrorism in military custody, indefinitely and without trial."
Apparently, the Constitution holds no real water when it comes to the government and their power.
Possibly the most excruciating fact to swallow about the whole ordeal, minus President Obama's hollow "reservations" about signing the bill, was that an overwhelming number of Republicans, alongside most Democrats, voted in favor of the bill. I could have sworn that the Republican Party was for smaller government, not bigger - but tell that to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and see what kind of look you get.
The bill, which neither defines terrorism nor offers a pass for American citizens, is even more disturbing when looking at what the Department of Homeland Security has previously defined as characteristics of possible terrorist cells. It includes those who are "suspicious of centralized federal authority" and "reverent of individual liberty" - I guess I'm a terrorist.
Despite mass outrage and a united front of Tea Partiers, Occupiers, conservatives and liberals protesting the bill, President Obama signed the bill into law on December 31st, 2011 - Happy New Year!
Unfortunately this is only a Top 5 list, meaning that there are countless more government entities that threaten the freedom and prosperity of the American people. However, it is these five that not only pose the greatest threat to our freedom, but they possess the power to consistently effect our daily lives.