Third Party & Independents Archives

The DHS Backdown

This week marks an important, but not very publicized, admission by the Department of Homeland Security that the attempts to institute a National ID card may well be out of their reach. What happens in the next phase of this fight is anyone’s guess.

CNet reported that "In the long-running Real ID staring match, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ended up being the first to blink". How, exactly?

This week the DHS declared that by May 11, 2008, all 50 states will be technically Real-ID compliant. That sounds like a win for the DHS, doesn't it? But, there is one minor issue. It isn't true.

In fact, it is not close to being true. Several states are not anywhere near being compliant, owing partially to the fact that the final requirements were only recently released by the DHS. But that is just normal operating procedure from the Federal Government; it doesn't speak to where the DHS actually blinked.

What the DHS is refusing to acknowledge is that the states of New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Montana have all passed legislation saying that they will *NEVER* enact the Real ID rules. Instead, the DHS is ignoring these public protests enough to allow all states IDs to be used in travel after the May 11, 2008 deadline has passed.

Even worse, the DHS is accepting promises of introducing legislation, and even outright statements of protest, as capitulation into the Real ID program.

Last month, Montana took a similar approach. Its governor, Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, has repeatedly denounced Real ID and even called on his counterparts (PDF) in other states to oppose it. But Homeland Security dutifully accepted a relatively hostile letter from Schweitzer--saying he will never "authorize implementation of the Real ID Act"--as good enough

Does this tell us that when the December 31, 2009 deadline comes and goes that the DHS will continue to ignore the states that are not following the Real ID rules and continue to let their state IDs be used? Does this send a message to other states that they don't have to follow them as well?

"DHS is not in power here," said Jim Harper, the director of information policy studies at the free-market Cato Institute. "The states are in power. DHS has done all it could, but from a position of weakness...DHS put the best face it could on its capitulation to states with backbone. A lot more states will recognize that they own this issue, they control this debate."

So, it appears that a quiet death to the Real ID issue, with a new administration entering into power nearly a full year before the deadline. But I'm not sure I'm sold yet. I have heard other things dying quiet deaths, like the DMCA's first incarnation, before it came back into full force and imposed itself on the liberty minded American public. This is a fluid and continuing situation.

Posted by Rhinehold at April 4, 2008 3:24 PM
Comments
Comment #249855

Rhinehold, this issue still perplexes me. Good article btw.

On the one hand, a national ID stands in contradiction to privacy rights. On the other hand, SS numbers and Driver’s licenses have usurped those privacy rights already, and, a national ID system would assist in tackling other issues like illegal aliens in our country.

I confess to not being nearly as disconcerted by a national ID system run by Democrats. But, once in place, the day may come when another Bush Jr. will have control of it, and that prospect is absolutely frightening.

On balance, I have to oppose a national ID, with the caveat that it is not without some merit. But, the risks associated with what may come to be viewed as an iron clad ID system, which it won’t be, are just too high.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 4, 2008 8:23 PM
Comment #249860

I think that a lot of us don’t support the National ID card because though it definitely could be used as one part of a solution to some very significant problems (i.e., those related to undocumented aliens), the government has demonstrated no willingness or political will up until now to actually confront these problems using other means. Means which are far simpler, are already laws on the books, and which don’t involve legitimate American citizens giving up more of their privacy.

Why should we risk giving them a tool which they might abuse when they already refuse or fail to make use of the tools they already have?

On principle, I don’t have a huge objection to the National ID card since it would merely consolidate a lot of information, as David points out, that the government already has. I could gladly support it if there was a demonstrated need for it AFTER they actually tried to solve some the problems it could be used to address and it became clear that the National ID card was the next step in an ongoing rather than nonexistent process.

Otherwise it’s just another power-grab for the sake of grabbing power. The government, by its nature, has an unlimited appetite for such power, and I see no need for we citizens to just keep feeding the beast when it’s unclear what the beast’s intentions are.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 4, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #249863

Loyal Opp, your last sentence was particularly well phrased. For the ultimate intentions can never be known for those who would wield power years hence are never known.

The ultimate check on power in office is the American people, and the American people prove time and again to be well below the task, and predisposed to attend their differences instead of uniting in common cause.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 5, 2008 1:16 AM
Comment #249867

Rhinehold great article. The sooner Bush and his cronies are gone the better. Its not government its the Bush administration and the neocons that are the problem. Hats off to Gov. Schweitzer. Hopefully he can continue this fight and others will finally wake up to this.

“I confess to not being nearly as disconcerted by a national ID system run by Democrats. But, once in place, the day may come when another Bush Jr. will have control of it, and that prospect is absolutely frightening. “
David dont put it past the dems to elect that next person. National ID is not needed. It wont solve the problem it was intended to solve and will furether consolidate power at the federal level.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 5, 2008 1:38 AM
Comment #249869

There really is no such thing as privacy anymore. I Google my name every couple of weeks to see if anybody is bothering me. I am not anonymous. The government didn’t do this to me. I did it to myself & Google etc assisted.

We also lose a lot of freedom BECAUSE we do not have identification. You have to go to the airports hours before your flight and everybody is treated like a criminal. A ID check would provide a better check w/o as much intrusive search.

You have to go through metal detectors everyplace you go. I remember being able to walk past the side gates of the White House. I brought my son through the back door of the Capitol and nobod y bothered me. Today… You used to be able to cut through the Smithsonian on the way someplace else and spend a couple minutes looking at the exhibits w/o making a Federal case of it.

I currently live on a military camp where everybody has guns all the time and everybody has identity cards. Ironically, there is often more freedom. When I drive past a bus stop, I ask if anybody needs a ride. I would never be brave enough to do that in an ordinary city bus stop. Strangers drive by me on the street and ask if I need a ride. I get in sometimes. Would you do that at home? I can leave my gear in a cubby hole at the airport. Nobody steals it and nobody impounds it. I know that it is inspected by dogs etc, but what do I care?

Most European countries have much less privacy. The authorities can detain people much easier than in the U.S. and can ask for identification in almost all cases. I am not saying that Europe is better than the U.S., but the cities are often more livable. Some of this has to do with the general level of security provided by LESS privacy. You can sit in a park w/o some weirdo feeling empowered to act strange and give you a hard time. In American cities, the bums have taken over the parks, so 100 people cannot enjoy the public place because one guy gets to express his “individuality”. That is one reason we in America have to create private places.

I don’t feel a government ID card is a threat to liberty. The government can track you right now IF they want to do so. In other words, if you don’t trust the government, the ID makes it no worse. And the whole idea of privacy has gotten a little out of hand.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2008 1:52 AM
Comment #249870

j2t2 said: “David dont put it past the dems to elect that next person.”

The Dem. Party would have to morph its platform and its supporters would have to alter their values enormously to elect the next great trampler of tradition and Constitution.

I agree, Democrats are not above trimming the Constitution here and there on their march toward Utopia. But, knowing the mind and value set of the leaders and spokespersons of the Party today, such radical shift in the Dem. Party is not in the near term future 12-16 years if at all during this generation of new voters.

GW Bush and the GOP in control made history. And it is a history that this new generation of voters will not forget for the rest of their voting lives. And they will not stand for their Democratic Party treading down that same historical path. Just as the older generation cannot divorce themselves from the Hillary Clinton paradigm and tradition of Democratic politics, so too will this new generation be unable to divorce themselves from the new Obama paradigm of elevation not denigration, of cooperation not in-fighting, of education and information not blind leadership and trust.

There are very large differences between the senior set of Hillary Democrats and the junior set of Obama Democrats. And the future belongs to the junior set, and they bloody well know it. Just as the 1960’s generation of civil rights and social liberals (as long as I make more than mom and dad) knew it, and have shaped America’s future for decades.

These junior Democrats will not permit shredding of the Constitution by political office holders even if they are Democrats. They may however, seek some amendments by education and consensus. We’ll see. This next generation is the first generation of new voters to grow up immersed in instantaneous Google and Yahoo Information at the finger tips. They may not know the Constitution, but, they damn sure know how to access it and a plethora of explanatory and educational materials concerning it for their quick learn when the need arises.

That is an incredibly powerful cultural change. Combined with a renewed political activism by this generation, and one can at the very least, look to a future that shall clearly not follow the example of their parent’s generation of ignorance for lack of education, time, and energy to read books (old paradigm), specialization, and apathy about leader’s choices.

I can see this in my daughter who attended and learned as much as she could about the Democratic primary and caucus process by attending as a guest. She is 17 and can’t even vote yet, but having been invited to become a student Democrat, she is priming and readying herself with great anticipation.

She is being energized by other motivated peers at school and on the internet, and she, in her turn, is energizing others of her age. It is quite a process to watch and talk to her about as she is full of anticipation and confidence that she and her peers will best her Dad and Mom in taking this nation forward.

I certainly hope so. I truly hope millions of junior Democrats, Independents, and Republicans catch the bug to reject their parents political paradigms and problem solve and think through their own for their time and their children’s time in this trek down human history making.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 5, 2008 2:19 AM
Comment #249872

Jack, you make some very sound points and an argument that hangs together well.

But, you miss the forest for the trees, overall. When the people expect a right to privacy, a government official enticed to violate that privacy should know there will be repercussions if detected (as so many Republican office holders past and present will find out next year), and therefore take pause before violating privacy.

On the other hand, if the public does not expect privacy, abuse of privacy is much more likely to occur and repercussions slow to rise if they rise at all. You are right, our government can and has violated privacy a number of times in a number of ways over the presidency of GW Bush. And there will be an accounting for much of them. When Republicans held control of Congress and the White House, they acted as if such an accounting could never be held under their control, and they were right for the most part. But, the public’s expectation for both privacy and accounting contributed to the GOP getting the boot from power.

And the accounting has already begun, with even Republicans in Congress now demanding it. Such is the power of the expectation of privacy. Doesn’t matter if the people have an absolute guarantee of it, as long as they have an indignant expectation of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 5, 2008 2:30 AM
Comment #249883

Jack,

Perhaps if we all lived in a “gated community” as you do we would all have that rosy glow that security can give us.
I am so tired of the “if you have nothing to hide” defence, as our government does everything it can to instill fear in the American populous.

We are told by our government to defend our personal information as if our very lives depended on it, but on the other hand the most egregious leak of our personal information seems to be our government.

I already have 2 forms of ID, 1 issued by the state I live in (my drivers licence, which, BTW is a commercial licence, and already subjects me to a greater amount of scrutiny than the average American), and one issued by the federal government (my passport).

Just how many forms of identification do I really need, and at what point is enough enough?

Posted by: Rocky at April 5, 2008 8:33 AM
Comment #249884

David

I am not trying to be partisan here. You may recall that Dem activists got some Republican tax records during the Clinton Administration and there was just the closing of a case of Dem spying on Republican phone calls closed last week. These things, however, are illegal.

Beyond that, you must know that nobody will suffer prosecution for what they did under the cover of law during the Bush Administration. Even if you could find the appropriate “crime” the rules of evidence would make it very difficult to prove and most of these sort of things have very short statutes of limitations.

The question I am addressing is how much privacy we can/should really expect. Google yourself. I am sure you will find a lot of entries. It would be very easy to find out a lot about you for anybody with a computer.

I know employers who Google job applicants and even women who Google prospective dates.

Sometimes I WANT people to know about me. It helps me if I can use my credit score or my personal history to build my bona fides. But I cannot turn it on and off since the methods that allow others to know me work whether or not I consent. The government may be the least of my worries when it comes to this.

Generally, I get a different level of service depending on how much privacy I am willing to surrender. I cannot expect people or firms to trust me unless I prove who I am. A bank has a requirement and a right to know about my finances if I ask them to give me a loan. So does the credit card company. AND others get to use this information second hand. My valid credit card tells those doing business with me that I am a valid customer. I don’t mind proving my real identity because I don’t want some crook taking advantage of my good credit. I willingly surrender privacy.

I also think we need to NOT confuse privacy with liberty. In the small towns of our early history, nobody had real privacy. Everybody knew a lot about his neighbors. Privacy the way we use the term is really an invention of the late 20th Century and I think it is overdone.

If I could have a card that positively identified me and allowed me to skip some of the security measures at airports or helped ensure that I would not be a victim of identify theft, I would gladly use it. I think this is the way it is going to go, BTW. Firms and governments will produce “fast lanes” for those willing to trade some privacy for freedom.

Frankly, privacy per se is not something I particularly value. People can know who I am and what I do, if they have the tolerance of boredom to want to find out. Of course, if they follow me some places they may be sorry, but if they learn all about me they might know that too. I only care if they use it to rip me off or harm me. Those are the things that should be - and are - illegal.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2008 10:01 AM
Comment #249893

Jack is absolutely right. If you are a loyal Democrat or a loyal Republican, by empowering either party, you are also a supporter of the corporate/government model and it’s vision of a NEW WORLD ORDER in which the nation states and their borders are gradually eroded away and replaced by continent sized free trade zones, then you need not worry about surveilance or identity papers until it is to late to do anything about it.

Posted by: jlw at April 5, 2008 12:57 PM
Comment #249903

If I traveled outside the U.S. alot, and a national ID card would be like using an EZ-Pass, I would go get one as fast as I could.
If I have to carry one because I might get pulled over because of my darker skin… I would not be happy about having to have one.

Why can’t we give the ID’s to those entering the country instead??
Visitor passes and worker passes.
We have to get special passes if we want to enter military bases even when we can prove we were born here. There are places all over our country that don’t allow people in without a pass.

If I were traveling here for vacation I may not want to have to do that. If I only had to do it once I would not mind. Like when I went on the army/navy base because my husband had a contract job there. Of course it expired and had to be renewed for each contract.
Worker passes and visitor passes can have a renewal date just like our driver’s licenses.

If I were coming here to work I would feel better if I had some form of ID showing who I am and why I’m here.
Another benefit of worker passes would be that, if they need medical care while they are here we would know who they are and where to send the bill. If they don’t or can’t pay their bill we can bill their home government. If we give aid to that nation it can be subtracted from that. We know a massive amount of money earned by illegals is sent home and the money helps the economy of the home countries. We could even require nations to supply migrant workers with medical cards (like medicaid) for their people.
This may also keeps those who are coming to commit crimes to stay away.
The honest, hard working people would have no need to sneak over the border and the border patrol can concentrate on the bad guys.

This way we are not infringing on citizen’s rights.
This is our country and we should be able to keep track of who comes here.
People can come and go easily when they are just looking for a job.
Once they have their pass they can go through a checkpoint especially for them.
No more stealing SS numbers. They wouldn’t need them. The border would be less congested.

People with worker passes would have to be paid at least minimum wage for the area they are working.
Employers would have to hire people with these worker passes or face fines/imprisonment.


With all of this the National ID card would be an option for people instead of a requirement.

Of the 12 million+ illegals in our country, do we know how many really want to become citizens, and how many are here for work and plan to go home when they retire?
Those with worker passes would be required to pay into SS. If they do not decide to become citizens they would not qualify for SS but they would get back the money they put in, and only that money, when they head back home to retire.


Posted by: Dawn at April 6, 2008 12:27 AM
Comment #249904

Just barely on topic (no not really but I don’t feel like writing up an article)

Is anyone prying away his guns now?

Charlton Heston passes away.

RIP, we’ll try to carry on fighting for individual rights without you from here on out.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 6, 2008 12:30 AM
Comment #249905

“We also lose a lot of freedom BECAUSE we do not have identification. You have to go to the airports hours before your flight and everybody is treated like a criminal. A ID check would provide a better check w/o as much intrusive search.”
Pray tell Jack what do you think would change at the airport with a national ID as opposed to the state ID we currently have?
The states do a damn fine job with the drivers license and the feds only make matters worse by making them all the same. Once the forgers compromise the federal requirements we will be in the same boat we are now. Which is a few people have phony ID and we still have a threat from the terrorist. This is nothing more than one more attempt by the internationalist to put more power in the hands of the executive branch of the federal government and away from ther last vestiges of freedom the individual states. Jack were the terrorist of 9/11 using phony ID?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 6, 2008 1:32 AM
Comment #249908

j2t2

What I am thinking of is a type of security clearance card. It would not do away with all physical security but would faciliate checking on bona-fides. Your passport already has it. When you go through the gates, the officer can call up your data which includes a picture that can be checked against the picture on your passport. It provides a seprate check that makes it almost impossible to forge the document (since you would have to get into the other system too).

Of course a legitimate American citizen who just went bad would not be detected. But people tend to behave in patterns. And anybody who had a fraudulent document could be more easily detected.

It is not a panecea, but we need to do something to slow the steady erosion of our freedom.

Posted by: Jack at April 6, 2008 2:01 AM
Comment #249909

“I currently live on a military camp where everybody has guns all the time and everybody has identity cards. Ironically, there is often more freedom.”
Jack do you think that is because of the guns or the ID? Would you really feel you had more freedom because the guy next to you had an ID card, afterall the vast majority in the US have state ID cards, usually in our pockets, did that make you feel safer? Is a military base a good example to make your point as it is a bit different than being at a park in a major US city, as most of the good guys arent armed. wouldn’t you think. in fact I find it hard to use this military setting as any kind of a comparison and to suggest its due to the ID card sounds rather silly.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 6, 2008 2:32 AM
Comment #249910

“Of course a legitimate American citizen who just went bad would not be detected. But people tend to behave in patterns. And anybody who had a fraudulent document could be more easily detected.”
Jack wouldnt these “legitimate” Americans be boarding the same airplanes as foreigm tourist and foreign students etc. Is it you position that these foreigners not be allowed to travel in this country? Or is it your position that only “legtimate” Americans can be trusted to travel with the foreigners? If we allow for the patterns you mention then we would logically deny a seat on the plane to religious people with no record of wrong doing in this country if we are to use the 9/11 terrorist as an example of people who would run an airplane into a building. Next thing you know you would want to exclude any ex-militry personnel if we use the OKC bombing as an example of people who would commit acts of violence against this country. Geez Jack pretty soon you would need to be on parole to get a seat on an airplane. Seems to me this exclusionary profiling you espouse would be bad for the travel industry. Why not just tattoo a big red L across all legtimate Americans foreheads Jack. Oh I guess that should be reserved for the liberals shouldnt it. How many 9/11 terrorist were Americans anyway Jack? Yet you are willing to force Americans to be databased and legitimatized prior to being allowed on an airplane?
Me, Id rather move to a state like Montana where men are men and the sheep are scared rather than where sheople are sheople and the men are scared.:)

“It is not a panecea, but we need to do something to slow the steady erosion of our freedom.” So going to a federal database will stop the eroison of our freedom? Do you mean safety or freedom? Why not just quadruple the number of law enforcement and military personnel in the country so we can all be observed all the time? Then there would be no need to worry about any further eroison of our freedoms. You know for a “government can only do a few things well” kinda guy you sure seem to like the government intrusion into our lives for safety thing quite a bit.
Your making me nervous, Jack,and with all due respect after the torture issue and now this, are you sure your not shifting your political thinking further right from the neocons to the fascist?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 6, 2008 3:18 AM
Comment #249914

Don’t we already have our wages confiscated by a central entity? What could be more invasive than the ability to empty out our checking and savings while giving our employers access to our private information via a social security number. The source of identity theft. The privacy aspect of this debate is sixty years too late. A national passport is a good idea to verify citizenship and is much less invasive than requiring social security numbers. It is just the Bush factor that appears to be the problem.


Posted by: Kruser at April 6, 2008 10:03 AM
Comment #249922

RealID Real ID

I recommend reading Bruce Schneier’s comments at Schneier on Security, A blog covering security and security technology.

An essay on the security costs and benefits of RealID:
Real ID Costs

Two sites with good information (per Schneier)
Real Nightmare
Unreal Id.com

An item in Bruce Schneier’s blog on security
Here

Posted by: Andrew Garland at April 6, 2008 1:31 PM
Comment #249924

Kruser,

It’s not just Bush, its an issue with consolidating power. If I remember right, there were some Dems using tax returns of opponents against them.

The fact is that while JACK may not care if someone knows everything about him, there are others that do. We should strive to meet the liberty desires of those we disagree with, not just what we think is best for us personally. It’s called principle, something we don’t encourage much these days unfortunately.

For example, I don’t smoke pot, so a law against it’s use doesn’t affect me personally. But I do understand that other people may want to and there is no valid reason for the government to tell them that they can’t. The same goes here, there is no valid reason for this invasion of our privacy either.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 6, 2008 1:46 PM
Comment #249930

rheinhold

“For example, I don’t smoke pot, so a law against it’s use doesn’t affect me personally. But I do understand that other people may want to and there is no valid reason for the government to tell them that they can’t.”

exellent point. it’s to bad more people don’t stand up for the freedom of others. i guess it doesn’t register until they themselves lose something to gov’t regulation that they personally cherish. it’s far easier for gov’t to pick us off a few at a time, especially with so few paying attention until it’s too late. it very well may already be too late.

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 3:03 PM
Comment #249931

I don’t know exactly what would prevent good old entrepeneurial Americans from selling or renting their IDs, or prevent someone who wanted one from killing someone for it, if the ID would be very valuable. Won’t there be a market for counterfeit ones?

The Post Office is requiring a background check to get a box, and employers screen with mountains of paperwork, psychological testing, and urine samples. Are we any safer from the boogeyman? Will any of it make up for the losses of 9/11? Do we all still need to hide under our desks at 10 am every Tuesday?

Posted by: ohrealy at April 6, 2008 3:05 PM
Comment #249932

ohrealy

good points. it’s funny how we got by all this time without this modern feel good nonsense. how did our ancestors ever survive without background checks and random drug testing ? i think the more technology advances the greater the need to justify why we need it incorporated into our daily for our own protection.

Posted by: dbs at April 6, 2008 3:15 PM
Comment #249936

Like airline security, a lot of this is just providing jobs, for paperwork sorters, profiling “experts”, and ICK, urine samplers. I don’t know if it provides any enhanced security, or just more excuses for people to pry and spy.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 6, 2008 4:08 PM
Comment #249942

I was at lunch today, and I was sitting next to a woman who was reading some slim jims from Ron Paul’s campaign.

She had a question about this national ID.

She said, “What’s wrong with a national I.D. Card?”.

I said, “We already have State Driver’s licence and State identification cards. The States have already rejected a national I.D. Card”.

She said, “Why do we need a national I.D. card?”

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 6, 2008 8:00 PM
Comment #249943
I don’t know exactly what would prevent good old entrepeneurial Americans from selling or renting their IDs, Posted by: ohrealy at April 6, 2008 03:05 PM

Ohrealy, I was thinking about selling my kidney to pay my debt. You just gave me an Idea!!

I can rent my I.D. to someone!

Cha ching!

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 6, 2008 8:05 PM
Comment #249944

I recommend reading Bruce Schneier’s comments at Schneier on Security
A blog covering security and security technology.

An essay on the security costs and benefits of RealID
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/realid_costs_an.html

Two sites with good information (per Schneier)
http://www.realnightmare.org/
http://www.unrealid.com/

An item in Bruce Schneier’s blog on security
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/08/us_government_t_2.html

Posted by: Andrew Garland at April 6, 2008 9:28 PM
Comment #249945

Jack said: “The question I am addressing is how much privacy we can/should really expect. Google yourself. I am sure you will find a lot of entries. It would be very easy to find out a lot about you for anybody with a computer.”

I have a public persona, which I control. The problem is not that I put information out in the public. The problem is the government and its partisan employees have access to information about me which I would NEVER make available to the public, nor want any other single individual to have total access to.

Hence, the need for privacy protection in the legal sense as observed by government and its employees with access to information about me from a very wide range of sources, most of which their job description does not entitle them access to.

That is a very different issue from my public personna which I make available in a controlled fashion, and piecemeal across many different venues, including private information to the government for legitimate government DEP’T purposes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 6, 2008 10:00 PM
Comment #249946

Kruser asked: “Don’t we already have our wages confiscated by a central entity?”

No, we have our wages taxed by majority consensus to fund the demands we lay at the feet of government.

You want taxation from a central authority to complain about, you need to go to China or Cuba. The people don’t have a say in the matter there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 6, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #249952

Jack,

Some states, Arizona for example, already have a magnetic strip embedded in their drivers licence on which I am sure information is stored.

Why do we need a national ID card when the information is already readily available?

Oh, and just how much more should we be forced to pay for this “enhanced” security on top of paying for a drivers licence?

Posted by: Rocky at April 7, 2008 12:06 AM
Comment #249965

The means we came to have a central entity doesn’t disqualify it as such. I don’t recall any recent IRS elections by the way. All central entities have the same dangers.
The French health system is streamlined because of an ID system. You can eliminate numerous administrators and have direct billing. An advantage to both the insured and insurer.

Posted by: Kruser at April 7, 2008 10:54 AM
Comment #249968

david

“No, we have our wages taxed by majority consensus to fund the demands we lay at the feet of government.”

the solution to this problem is to allow voting only by those who pay taxes. it’s to easy for someone who’s not affected to go ahead and say ” sure tax em some more they can afford it”, when they never share the pain.

Posted by: dbs at April 7, 2008 11:12 AM
Comment #249979

dbs doesn’t believe in universal suffrage over the age of 18? Actually, you have a point there, one backed by the original Founders who sought only the vested and literate to receive suffrage. However, universal suffrage is a genie that won’t go back in the bottle. We have far bigger fish to fry with the potential of actually cooking them before they rot.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 11:49 AM
Comment #249985

Kruser said: “The means we came to have a central entity doesn’t disqualify it as such.”

Sure it does. Because the means to create the IRS is still available to revoke it. Ergo, the IRS continues to exist by consensus.

“I don’t recall any recent IRS elections by the way.”

Red Herring! We have elections every 2 years in which the people may make the existence of the IRS or its functions the criteria used to reelect the entire House of Representatives and 1/3 of the U.S. Senate. The absence of such a grassroots response can only be construed as consensus support for IRS functions and purposes and the politicians that maintain the IRS’s existence and functions.

What you call a centralized entity is more accurately a centralized collection agency in the Executive Branch of government. The IRS does not set the taxing rate. The people do through the approval or disapproval of their representatives votes on the issue at election time.

Centralized authority is the term I think you might have been searching for, and as I said, you will need to go to China or Cuba to find that. Authority in American government is derived from the Constitution and the people’s votes every 2 years. Hardly a centralized authoritarian approach.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 12:14 PM
Comment #249987

david

“The absence of such a grassroots response can only be construed as consensus support for IRS functions and purposes and the politicians that maintain the IRS’s existence and functions.”

i suppose it could be construed that way, but IMHO more likely a case of apathy, or a lack of an adequately educated pool if voters.

Posted by: dbs at April 7, 2008 12:38 PM
Comment #249995

Bruce Schneier’s comments about Real ID are informative:
www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/realid_costs_an.html

[Excerpt]

If anything, [Real ID] is surprisingly cheap: Only $37 each for an estimated 295 million people who would get a new ID under this program. But it’s still an enormous amount of money. The question to ask is, of course: Is the security benefit we all get worth the $11 billion price tag? We have a cost estimate; all we need now is a security estimate.

When most people think of ID cards, they think of a small plastic card with their name and photograph. This isn’t wrong, but it’s only a small piece of any ID program. What starts out as a seemingly simple security device — ­a card that binds a photograph with a name — ­rapidly becomes a complex security system.

It doesn’t really matter how well a Real ID works when used by the hundreds of millions of honest people who would carry it. What matters is how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures might be exploited.

Posted by: Andrew Garland at April 7, 2008 2:44 PM
Comment #250007
the solution to this problem is to allow voting only by those who pay taxes

In our society, that is everyone. Even the poorest homeless man pays taxes when he purchases something, thanks to our embedded tax system. A quarter spent on a cup of coffee comes with over eight cents of taxes paid along the way into the tax system, passed on to the consumer.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 7, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #250010

Rhinehold

sorry, i guess i should have been more specific. i was actually talking about income taxes. good point though. i think the embedded taxes on everything we buy or use is mostly un noticed by the poor and others you speak of. i don’t think most people are truly aware of the amount of taxes they actually pay. if they were i think something would be done. if every person had to sit down and write a check to the irs every year like most business owners, and self employed folks, things would be very different. after all why have mandatory withholding ? answer, you won’t miss what you never see. whats truly funny is how people pay in all year, and then when our generous gov’t gives them a little back they think it’s great. i guess ignorance truly is bliss, and i’m sure thats the way uncle sam wants it to stay.

Posted by: dbs at April 7, 2008 5:39 PM
Comment #250035

Actually, you don’t HAVE to have your taxes withheld, except for SS, and it is silly to do so, IMO.

What you are doing is letting the US government earn interest on your money instead of you earning it.

I set my W-4 to exempt, put the money I wpuld have given the IRS into a special savings account (not to be touched) and keep the interest on that money for myself, minus the taxes on that interest…

I still come out ahead. And I am well aware of how much I am giving the IRS each year… Truly amazing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 8, 2008 10:17 AM
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