“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.”—Author Tom Clancy
Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.
We’re operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where, instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you’ve got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.
What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.
In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons, and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps, and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—is little more than a front for a high-dollar covert operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.
The rationalizations for the American police state are many. There’s the so-called threat of terrorism, the ongoing Drug War, the influx of illegal immigrants, the threat of civil unrest in the face of economic collapse, etc. However, these rationalizations are merely excuses for the growth of a government behemoth, one that works hand in hand with corporations to profit from a society kept under lockdown and in fear at all times.
Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the real motivating factor behind erecting a police state is not to protect the people, but to further enrich the powerful. Consider the following costly line items, all part of the government’s so-called quest to keep us safe and fight terrorism while entrenching the police state, enriching the elite, and further shredding our constitutional rights:
$4.2 billion for militarized police. Almost 13,000 agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participate in a military “recycling” program that allows the Defense Department to transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. In 2012 alone, $546 million worth of military equipment was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
$34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment. Since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” While police departments like to frame the acquisition of military surplus as a money-saving method, in a twisted sort of double jeopardy, the taxpayer ends up footing a bigger bill. First, taxpayers are forced to pay millions of dollars for equipment the Defense Department purchases from megacorporations, only to abandon it after a few years. Then taxpayers find themselves footing the bill to maintain the costly equipment once it has been acquired by the local police.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom