America was founded on several noble principles: Â "No taxation without representation", the idea that the people would have control and influence over government, and the Bill of Rights. Â Unfortunately, these ideals and principles have been slowly eroded away, to the point that much of what goes on today, and is considered normal, is as un-American as can be. Â This article will give a brief overview of just a few of the glaring problems that are or will soon affect the American People.
As the first example of the erosion of American ideals; Americans have almost no control over government finances, but the opposite is quite true. Â The government can institute almost any sort of fee or tax it wants. Â While some taxes are voted on by the electorate, other hidden taxes are prevalent and in many cases, increasing. Â Examples would be vehicle registration, estate taxes, property taxes etc. Â Admittedly, these taxes come about by way of choice, rather than government mandate, however the reasoning still stands. Â In order to own something that is part of most Americans' everyday lives, you must pay the State. Â If you don't pay, they either charge you extra, or take it from you, effectively eliminating the concept of true ownership. Â
Further highlighting the inequality and double standard when it comes to financial accountability and requirements in our nation today, is the unfortunate news that Congressional representatives' stock portfolios regularly out perform the general public, to the tune of 12% or more.
If stock portfolios do not seem important enough, the bailouts of the financial system, which the people had no control over, have cost the American tax payer around $12 trillion in government commitments.Â
Skipping ahead a bit to look at the Bill of Rights the one question must be asked. Â What happened to the Bill? Â Notably, what happened to Amendments IV and V, calling for the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, against self incrimination, for due process, etc.? Â Recently, Police in Washington D.C. began conducting random bag checks on the D.C. Metro in response to threats against the system. Â Under the explanation that they are trying to protect the public, they are in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. Â They can't check everyone's bags, so they are picking people at random, and going through their personal effects. Â This in no way is meant to imply that we are not faced with danger in large Metropolitan areas, but at what point do we sacrifice our liberties for safety? Â
Surely, everyone has either experienced, or been subjected to the TSA's new security procedures, which allow for body scans, and so called enhanced patdowns. Â Honestly, while this is believed by many, including the author of this piece, to be a gross abuse of power and violation of our civil liberties, the real issue at hand is that not everyone is subjected to the same standards when passing through security. Â And when you are chosen to go through the scanner, it isn't guaranteed to catch anything, as the TSA undercover agent who passed a gun through the scanner recently proved.
It is not revolutionary talk to imply that we as Americans have an obligation to demand that our government adhere to a charter, and exhibit restraint. Â By taking chances now, it is leasing the future. Â At what point is enough truly enough? Â Government must be held to a stricter standard than it holds its citizens. Â Benjamin Franklin was said to have noted that "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." Â Whether it be financial or personal, American liberties are quickly fading away.