The year 2012 saw tremendous encroachments into the freedoms and liberties of the American people, and few of our Congressional representatives stood in the way of such abuses of power. From taxing internet purchases to allowing the government to throw people in jail based on “secret” evidence of terrorism, this year marks another elimination of freedoms and liberties in the United States.
A couple things did increase, though: our national debt and the number of well-paid federal government workers.
The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) not only gave the government the authority to continue expensive and never-ending wars overseas, but it also gives Washington far reaching powers to imprison American citizens for the mere suspicion of terrorism.
“This bill takes away [the right to a trial] and says that if someone thinks you’re dangerous, we will hold you without a trial. It’s an abomination,” remarked Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who argued fiercely against the inclusion of the indefinite detention provision within the NDAA. Paul cited Japanese internment camps as historical evidence that government cannot be trusted with powers that rely on behind-closed-doors “secret” evidence against the American people.
The United States’ punitive system of taxation is forcing companies to funnel millions of dollars to overseas bank accounts. Facebook, in fact, has funneled nearly a half billion to Cayman Island banks. The U.S. government’s continued insistence to punish success in the United States has once again prompted companies in 2012 to take their financial business elsewhere.
At the state level, an estimated 225,000 wealthy residents have fled California to escape its tax structure. This year, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown successfully pushed through tax increases that make Californians the highest taxed citizens in the country as the state’s deficits skyrocket to nearly $30 billion. Taxing the rich never works, and as reported on the Small Government Times before, ends up sending your wealthier taxpayers running for the hills.
How about that U.S. Postal Service? This year marked the first year that the government distribution service defaulted as the organization continues to leak money. Daily, the Postal Service is losing about $25 million. The financial hemorrhaging is preventing the service from paying current and future retiree benefits, roughly $5.5 billion in 2011 and 2012.
The number of federal workers, along with their salaries, have seen dramatic increases in the last several years. According to public record, over 500,000 federal government workers earn more than $100,000 a year (an increase of 10% since 2006) and average nearly twice the private sector in annual salaries. In fact, 77,000 federal workers make more than state governors. Despite economic uncertainty for the majority of the American people, more than half of those in Congress are millionaires. Several calculate their wealth easily in the hundreds of millions.
More than 40,000 state laws took effect this year, ranging from a higher minimum wage for several states, fining bus and truck drivers for talking on their cell phones while driving and a variety of regulations on concussions suffered while playing sports. Some states made it a requirement that larger businesses use the E-Verify system to confirm the legality of its workers. California gave illegals brought to the United States as infants access to the same statewide scholarships that legal students enjoy. Other states are requiring school and city coaches to bench younger players when they are believed to have suffered a concussion. Seat belts laws, inclusion of gay and lesbian studies in school curriculum and requiring state licensing to perform abortions all helped to increase the number of laws and regulations offered in this country.
The U.S.’s national debt has skyrocketed passed $16 trillion, an increase of a whopping $5 trillion since Barack Obama took office.
Elections have consequences, ladies and gentlemen. Stay vigilant.