We’ve written a lot over the last several years about the ethical and legal problems with George W. Bush’s programs of Big Brother government spying, begun with programs like Eagle Eyes and brought to fruition with the FISA Amendments Act passed this year. These spying programs were created in the panicked rush of Homeland Insecurity, but ended up targeting innocent Americans more than actual terrorists. Remember, for instance, the way that the FISA Amendments Act was used to listen in on soldiers and their wives engaging in phone sex.
One thing we haven’t considered, however, is the great financial expense to the government of these Big Brother programs to spy against Americans. If you think about it, though, nothing says big government more than Big Brother.
So, fiscal conservatives, take note – government spying programs are putting the federal government into huge debt, resulting in compounding interest that contributes to the budget deficit, stunting the American economy. What’s more, the problem is getting worse. Over the last year, federal spending on spying increased by 4 billion dollars.
The trouble with most of this spending is that it’s done in the dark, with secret budgets that even members of Congress cannot oversee. Spending on spying is done with an almost complete lack of accountability, which is how we’ve arrived at the terrible situation of taxpayers’ money being wasted on government spying against law-abiding Americans.
Those Americans who truly value fiscal discipline cannot support the continuation of rampant, inefficient, misdirected government spying programs against Americans citizens. It’s not just a matter of right and wrong. It’s also a simple matter of dollars and cents.