We can’t give up our freedoms


Recently there is a lot of discussion about our government leaders and what role and influence they have in each of our lives. The abuse of power by the IRS and the intrusion of privacy by the NSA is only the tip of the iceberg. All of the media outlets are reporting as if this is only a rare occurrence with only a few people to blame. Congress is busy weeding through all the information about these abuses of power and now we can all relax and have faith that everything will be taken care of. With a slap on the wrist of the IRS and a pat on the back side, all will be forgiven and business as usual will resume in Washington.

One of the best and most useful tools to exert control over the citizens of the United States is the Internal Revenue Service. With 65,000 to 70,000 thousand pages of tax code and more if than and go to statements than a complex computer program it is difficult to get everything right all of the time. This affords the government the ability to use this power and abuse this power to go after groups and individuals that it deems undesirable. In short the IRS is the pit-bull of the government and both the Republicans and Democrats use this to their advantage. Now couple this with the recent NSA information gathering and expansion of the Patriot act to include all Americans, shouldn’t we be alarmed and demanding our fourth amendment right? Is everyone so scared of the terrorist that we are willing to trade in our freedoms for security?

Instead of any true outcry, I have heard conservatives and liberals in the leadership positions and the average citizen state that we need this intrusion of privacy to keep us safe from the terrorist. My question is who is going to keep us save from our overreaching government? The NSA and several politicians state that this information gathering is innocuous and doesn’t contain the details for us to be concerned with. It’s only collected and put into computers with an algorithm program to track patterns. A few questions come to mind when you think about this; like, how long is the information held? What other government agencies have access to this? Will people in power abuse this information? As the current track record shows, the answer to the last question is clear, some people in power will always abuse the system. The only question left is, to what extent and at what cost to us the American people.

If our elected officials were truly concerned with the abuse of power by the IRS, they would move to change our tax system to the Fair Tax which does away with income tax and replaces it with a single consumption tax on the products we buy. This would take the power away from the IRS and gives each and every citizen the ability to control the amount of tax they pay by what they consume. In regards to the NSA, if we are so fearful of the terrorist, that we allow our government to spy on us then we have already lost the battle, we are no longer a free people and this is no longer the home of the brave. My message is clear, if you want to live in a free society we need to be brave enough to withstand those who threaten us and not blame the government or ask the government to ward off each and every terrorist attack, even if that means the cost of human life. Give me liberty or give me death, is a famous quotation attributed to Patrick Henry, I could not say this any better. True freedom always comes with a price and if we choose to give it away for security then we are no longer free.

Tim Santell