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Friday, September 24, 2021

OPINION:

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said that the nine most dangerous words in the English language were, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Today’s barons of the Beltway have become so powerful that they’ve dropped any pretense of really trying to help anyone, only increase their power and control over the masses. President Biden’s financial monitoring scheme is the latest example.

The president, or perhaps more aptly, the president’s handlers, announced they want to monitor the transactions of every bank account with more than $600 allegedly to ensure “the rich pay their fair share.” 


The left knows what it’s doing. This isn’t about equity, raising enough revenue, growing the economy, or creating jobs. It’s not about going after the super-rich. In reality, it’s about eroding the financial privacy of every American. 

This unprecedented scheme is intended to collect massive amounts of data and monitor Americans’ financial transactions for future regulation. It will also hit small businesses and other organizations like non-profits with punitive and aggressive IRS enforcement. 
Remember, in 2014, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated, “…there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately.” Schumer also signed onto a 2012 letter demanding the IRS be more aggressive against conservative organizations.

We’re there and then some folks.

Biden’s 40-plus tax hikes and the nearly $5 trillion in spending are a coupling of expanding financial dependency and financial monitoring to inject government into the very depths of your private life, business, and household. Like the Left’s overtly political pandemic policy and government-run health care push, it’s about control. 

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, it should. The Obama administration monitored Americans’ financial transactions using a shadowy program that came to be called Operation Choke Point. Choke Point brought together deep state bureaucrats and political appointees at the Departments of Justice and Treasury, the FDIC, and Elizabeth Warren’s innocuous-sounding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  
Choke Point targeted legal entities like small home-based charities, gun and ammunition sellers, multi-level marketing businesses, and others. The Obama administration sent investigators into banks, issued subpoenas, and then coerced institutions from J.P. Morgan down to community banks to part ways with thousands of customers who were never accused of wrongdoing. 

Third-party payment processors were also targeted to prevent certain legal businesses from accepting credit cards or other electronic transfers. 

While this activity was going on, the CFPB collected 96 data points on hundreds of millions of American credit cards. Those purchases were being analyzed for patterns of behavior, presumably to help guide future regulation. When Congress asked why the CFPB was tracking Americans’ credit card purchases, they were told to go pound sand.  

Barack Obama was a master at weaponizing government. It was aggressive government coercion and regulation without Congressional approval. In total, it amounted to the most significant consumer spying operation in American history.  

His acolytes, firmly ensconced in the Biden White House, are taking it to the next level.

The far left, now out of the closet in the Democrat Party, isn’t even trying to keep it secret this time. The president gave a formal address about it in essence, saying, ‘trust me, it’s for your own good.’

In this present scheme, the administration claims it will only be looking at gross inflows and outflows, not the specifics of the transactions. Utilizing the alphabet soup of executive branch agencies to circumvent Congressional approval is the mother’s milk of the federal power. Expect it to happen here as it did before under Obama. They’ll get more data. A lot more.

Americans of all political stripes should realize the immense danger. Once governments can monitor or control your health care, your finances, and your privacy - they own you. The “Land of the Free” ceases to exist.

• Tom Basile, host of Newsmax Television’s “America Right Now,” is an author and adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches earned media strategy.


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