Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why Should I Care?

Trey Smith

In my last post, Buyer Beware, I shared with you information that the Obama administration is drawing up plans to provide the CIA and other spy agencies with the legal authority to look at your financial data. As I pointed out, you don't have to be suspected of any crime. Your financial data will be fair game, nonetheless.

The response of many to this startling news will be a yawn. Why should I care? Let 'em look at all they want. I am not doing anything illegal and I have nothing to hide.

But there is a genuine problem with this type of apathy. How do you know you're not doing anything "illegal"?

These days the federal government employs extremely broad definitions of what might be illegal. Not only that, but they steadfastly refuse to share what those broad definitions entail. So, you might make a charitable donation to one group who turns around to pass your donation on to another group and that second group may be on the "bad groups" list. Because the donation originated with you, this may place you on a watch list.

You may make several purchases of rather innocuous stuff. Taken individually, these purchases amount to nothing. But some analyst may view these purchases in the aggregate and, before you know it, some government official OR private contractor may decide you are a person up to no good.

And then, unfortunately, is the fact that the federal government is becoming increasingly disdainful of any sort of opposition or criticism. At some point in the near future, a political contribution to the party out of power or to a non-affiliated political organization may be enough to land any of us in hot water.

You see, this initiative represents another one of those proverbial slippery slopes. In the beginning, it may not impact most Americans, but down the road, its focus may change considerably. In fact, that is what almost always happens. So, your apathy today may come back to bite you on the arse tomorrow!

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