September 2012 – There is an old Arab tale about a prince and his camel traveling through the desert. The camel was hot and wanted to shade himself in the tent of the prince. The prince refused. The camel requested that the prince only allow him to shade his nose under the tent. His cry was so pitiful and his eyes so sad that the prince allowed it. Once the camel's nose came in, inch by inch, the rest of the beast followed.
So it often is with government - once it insinuates its big nose under the tent of the private sector, its dominance grows as individual rights diminish.
Martin Niemoller is credited with this short poem lamenting what happened when German citizens allowed the Nazi party to gain a stronghold.
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Thankfully, America's government is not hunting down its citizens, but Niemoller's point is well taken: until something affects us personally, the human inclination is to do nothing, even when the stakes are significant.
That's why many Americans are sounding the alarm that the federal proboscis is already under the tent in at least three areas in America: privacy, free enterprise and the economy.
First they came for privacy
In 1962, the Supreme Court decided in the landmark case, Griswold v. Connecticut, that Americans have a right to privacy. However, that right is being eroded slowly and surreptitiously.
Congress recently passed a measure allowing 30,000 drones to be used across the country. Drones are small, remote controlled planes that can be used for surveillance or tactical missions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the First Amendment in light of ever-changing technology, is suing the Federal Aviation Administration, the government organization that grants licenses to groups who use drones. The suit requests that the FAA disclose what agencies are using drones and for what purposes. EFF's main concern is the privacy of everyday citizens. Currently, the government can use an unmanned drone to watch anyone, anywhere, anytime without a warrant and without the knowledge or consent of the targeted citizen. This flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, protecting citizens against unlawful search and seizure.
But even without drones, the government is closely listening, or reading, personal interactions online. Due to a lawsuit from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Department of Homeland Security has released a list of over 200 words it is tracking on social media sites. DHS is reportedly using fake profiles to connect with people and track their posts and personal information.
Even without the DHS tracking the 200 words, the Library of Congress is currently archiving every tweet sent out over Twitter since its inception. Not only will these tweets be stored by the government. According to Library of Congress releases, the tweets will also be used for "data mining," although that term is not fully defined.
Then they came for businesses
In Thomas Jefferson's first State of the Union address, he stated, "Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise."
Clearly, the Founding Fathers had a belief that Americans would be most prosperous when they were most free. In today's government, both Democrats and Republicans seem to hold the opposite view, that free enterprise and laissez-faire capitalism oppress the people.
According to a March 15 article on CNSnews.com, many small businesses opt to stay small as a direct result of federal policies. Those federal policies include higher taxes for large businesses and increased regulations for businesses that employ more than 50 people.
Due to these government regulations, many small business owners choose not to hire more employees or embark on new business ventures. Some cut the number of full-time employees and hire more on a part-time basis.
This hurts those businesses, as it essentially gives them no incentive for growth. It hurts workers because it becomes difficult to find full time employment, and it hurts the economy as those who could work full time but don't will not have the discretionary income to purchase items, save, invest, pay more in taxes or be able to afford better health care for themselves and their families.
The health care industry is in no way immune to the costly effect of government policies. While most hospitals exist to help people, they must also make money to cover their costs.
But due to provisions in federal health care policies, hospitals cannot release a patient without a health plan. This has resulted in what some have called "permanent patients." A permanent patient is a person who is healthy enough to be released from the hospital, but does not have insurance or a family member who will continue to care for him and is therefore forced by federal policies to stay in the hospital, sometimes for months, with the hospital taking the bill on the chin. Permanent patients cost hospitals several millions of dollars every year, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called ObamaCare, only pushes the price of health care up for paying patients.
Lastly, they came for me
Sadly, Uncle Sam is not content only to make his presence felt in employment and health care. He also wants to reach directly into the pockets of working Americans. On January 1, 2013, sans direct action from Congress, there will be a nationwide tax increase of $500 billion. This is due to the expiration of tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush. If those cuts are not extended, the average working American family can expect a $4,000 increase in their taxes.
But even if the good uncle isn't reaching his white-gloved hands into the worn wallets of his citizens, there are many other ways he is separating them from their money. One way is through the use of debit cards.
For several years, banks have offered free checking accounts to patrons. To offer these, banks devised a plan to charge for customers who wrote checks or charged debit cards for money not in their accounts. When a patron spent more than he had, the bank covered the purchase, but charged $35 to do so. Due to new regulations concerning how much banks can charge customers for swiping their debit cards or for overdrawing their checking accounts, banks have been forced to begin charging customers simply for storing their money in the banks' vaults.
President Obama has essentially forced banks to stop charging for overdrafts so they have to charge for checking. He has made them stop charging for mistakes and start charging for responsibility.
Niemoller saw that his government was coming for people. His government was coming after lives. The U.S. government today is coming after the rights of citizens every day.
First they came for social networks, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't on Facebook.
Then they came to take privacy, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a criminal.
Then they came for hospitals, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a health care worker.
Then they came for my wallet, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
AFA encourages concerned citizens first to prepare for the upcoming election with prayer, then to take action by staying informed and voting. The I PRAY FOR AMERICA button, available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917, encourages others to join together in prayer for the nation. To help facilitate following prayer with action, AFA has also developed a comprehensive online voter guide at www.afaaction.net.