John Stossel: On hearing NSA revelation, I shrugged
We are less closely watched by government than citizens of other countries. There are about 3,000 government security cameras around New York City, but London has 500,000.
It does make a difference if cameras are controlled by a city government or a private department store. No store can lock me up. But I hate to get bogged down in the surveillance debate when there are so many other ways that government clearly threatens our freedom and our finances, while accomplishing nothing.
Within a few hours, I had a list of 100 — it was surprisingly easy. I encourage you to start a list of your own. Here are just a few example of horrible, destructive government:
• Government runs up a $17 trillion deficit and yet continues to throw our money at things like $100 million presidential trips, million-dollar bus stops and pork projects, as well as thousands of programs that don't work.
• It spends your money on corporate welfare. And farm subsidies. And flood insurance that helps higher-income people like me build homes in risky spots.
• I'm furious that there are now 175,000 pages of federal law. No one understands all the laws, but they keep passing more. How dare they!
NSA spying seems less horrible than these other abuses, especially if data mining might prevent terrorism.
I don't suggest that we should be passive about data mining and surveillance. But we should not let the latest threat make us passive about the old ones, some of them much more clearly wrong.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at www.johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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