This Is Your Brain on Big Government
The dangers of America’s bloated, bullying state are inescapable.


Deroy Murdock

“It is unprecedented in recent history, the amount of responsibility the IRS is being given in an area that most people don’t think of as an IRS function,” Treasury inspector general J. Russell George told the House Appropriations Committee last March 5. “This is going to lead to problems, sir.”

[UPDATE: In a story that morphs more quickly than one can keep up with it, this morning brings the staggering news that Sarah Hall Ingram, the manager of the IRS office that targeted these center-right organizations, was promoted to run the IRS division that is implementing Obamacare. It is beyond outrageous that this secret policewoman -- whose actions were at least execrable, if not illegal -- would get within three time zones of any American's health-care data. She should be sacked before lunch and seriously considered for prosecution.] 

Big Government overreaches.

On national-security grounds, the Justice Department justifies snatching two months of phone records associated with the Associated Press. This includes 20 office, home, and cell numbers. Justice appears to be investigating a leak related to al-Qaeda’s attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound airplane in 2012. However, Justice is using a paint roller where a fine brush might do. It evidently ran roughshod over its own guidelines, which require a more limited search, and only after requesting such records.


“The normal course of business is very narrow and very tailored to a particular individual’s phone records,” former attorney general John Ashcroft’s then-spokesman Mark Corallo told Fox News. “The idea that they would do two months — grab everything — in several bureaus is truly stunning and disgraceful.” Former attorney general Michael Mukasey worries that Justice might have been “looking more broadly to discourage people to talk to reporters.”

Justice’s extraordinary steps to plug national-security leaks would be more credible had the Obama administration not gushed like a fire hydrant after Seal Team Six killed Osama bin Laden. The CIA and Pentagon gave Academy Award–winning director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal access to classified materials and facilities as they prepared to shoot Zero Dark Thirty, the Oscar-nominated film about the bin Laden raid.

Administration blabbing exposed the name of a Pakistani doctor who helped U.S. intelligence gather DNA evidence that verified bin Laden’s presence in the compound where he was shot. Having been unveiled by Washington, that physician now is spending 33 years in a Pakistani prison. While addressing the March 22, 2009, Gridiron Dinner, joking Joe Biden let slip the classified location of the vice-presidential “undisclosed location.” Instead of gathering phone records, perhaps Justice officials should deploy duct tape across the mouths of indiscreet Obama staffers.

Big Government drives costs skyward.

Obama’s laughably titled Affordable Care Act will trigger individual health-insurance “premium increases of nearly 100 percent on average, with potential highs eclipsing 400 percent,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee reports. “Meanwhile, small businesses can expect average premium increases in the small group market of up to 50 percent, with potential highs over 100 percent.”

To make matters worse, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius improperly and perhaps illegally is asking health insurers and other companies she regulates to contribute money to private nonprofits that will enroll uninsured Americans in Obamacare.

It would be mighty sad if something happened to that pretty, little HMO of yours. So, how much are ya gonna donate?

Big Government lies through its teeth.

Once public servants conclude that the public serves them, they soon hold the people in contempt. At that point, why bother to tell the people the truth?

Thus, Obama stood before the White House press corps on May 13 and declared about Benghazi: “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.” However, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler noted that Obama broadly denounced “terror” just after Benghazi, but refused to call that attack an act of terrorism. Then, over the next two weeks — on 60 Minutes, Univision, The View, Late Show with David Letterman, and before the United Nations — Obama cited that now clearly irrelevant anti-Muslim video as well as his uncertainty in light of ongoing investigations. But he did not pin Benghazi on an act of terrorism.

This earned Obama four out of four Pinocchios, the Washington Post’s distinction for big-time lies.

“What we see emerging here is a pattern, a culture, a culture of intimidation, of hardball politics that we saw both on the campaign trail and now through the apparatus of government,” Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) told the Senate Wednesday. “These are the tactics of the Third World.”

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.


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