They are planning a new IRS rule that requires banks to report all transactions over $600. The current rule in place is any transactions over $10,000, so this is quite a dramatic expansion of the IRS’ power. And that’s what it really boils down to: power.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is defending a Biden administration proposal that would require banks to report data to the Internal Revenue Service on transactions over $600, calling the collection of information “routine,” after taking heat for the idea that is widely seen as an unprecedented invasion of privacy.
During an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday, Yellen was pressed on whether the IRS has the “wherewithal” to collect more information about taxpayers and bank accounts including cash flows, something many Republicans have called invasive.
“Well, of course they do,” Yellen said. “Right now, on every bank account that earns more than $10 a year in interest, the banks report the interest earned to the IRS. That’s part of the information base that includes W2’s and reports on dividends in other income that taxpayers earned. So collection of information is routine.”
What she doesn’t mention is that in order to make $10 a year in interest from a savings account, even with a high-yield savings account which pays out 0.5% interest, you’d have to have $2,000 in the bank to get $10.
But most people don’t even get 0.5% interest on their savings. The national average right now is 0.06%. The Chase Premier Savings account right now offers 0.01% APY, and that’s pretty standard for big banks, meaning you’re not getting $10 in interest unless you have $10,000 in the bank.
So it’s a pretty dramatic leap to go from $10,000 to $600 accounts.
Yellen cited the “enormous tax gap” in the US as the reason behind the proposed tax hikes and information collecting, blaming the gap on places where information on income “can be hidden.”
Yeah, I’m sure the reason the federal government can’t pay its bills is because of people with $650 in their savings accounts.
“It’s just a few pieces of information about individual bank accounts, nothing at the transaction level that would violate privacy,” the secretary said.
Of course it is.
The collected information would ostensibly help the Treasury Department determine which high-income wealthy individuals may be concealing transactions and income, and “these would be helpful indicators of where it would make sense for auditing to occur,” she added.
Americans are now so broke that you’re considered “high-income” if you make a purchase over $600.
Buy a TV? Reported to the IRS. Buy a couch? IRS.
Get bottle service at a nightclub? IRS knows about it.
I wonder if the IRS will have some questions for Hunter Biden when he withdraws $600 from an ATM to buy an 8-ball of blow and some hookers. For some reason I doubt it.
Under the proposal, banks would be required to turn over aggregate inflow and outflow numbers annually to the IRS and would cover bank accounts with at least $600 or at least $600 worth of transactions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
When it’s worded this way, it makes it sound as if every bank account with at least $600 is going to be scrutinized by the IRS. In other words, the majority of Americans’ bank accounts.
Apparently a Republican Senator ripped Yellen for the plan, although one would venture to guess she didn’t do so on behalf of the average American, she did so on behalf of her wealthy donors and puppet-masters:
The proposal has been slammed by Republicans as an invasion of privacy. Last week, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) slammed the Treasury secretary during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Committee hearing, asking if she was aware of “how unnecessary this regulatory burden is?”
“Do you distrust the American people so much that you need to know when they bought a couch? Or a cow?” the Republican senator asked.
“There are obvious privacy concerns for all Americans here and this represents a dramatic new regulatory burden for community banks and credit unions in Wyoming and elsewhere,” Lummis added.
“Bank customers are not subjects to the federal government. Banks do not work for the IRS.”
Yellen defended the plan, telling the senator, “Banks already report directly to the IRS the interest that they pay on accounts when it exceeds $10, and this is not a proposal to provide detailed transaction-level data by banks to the IRS.”
“Well, $600 threshold is not usually where you’re going to find the massive amount of tax revenue you think Americans are cheating you out of,” Lummis fired back.
“That’s correct,” Yellen admitted, “but it’s important to have comprehensive information so that individuals can’t game the system and have multiple accounts.”
Gee, Janet, it almost sounds like you’ve found the solution to your problem right there: capping the number of bank accounts an individual can have.
But it’s not about that. It’s about knowing every last thing about you. It’s about spying on you. It’s about having you by the balls every second of your life. It’s about making sure there is nowhere to hide. It’s about making sure Americans have no privacy whatsoever.
Look, I get the whole “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” angle, aka Communism. And while I have nothing to hide, it’s more about the principle. It’s the government taking a position where they inherently distrust the American people. It gives the more access into our personal lives.
I know there are a lot of people out there that are under this impression that the government is all-powerful and has the right to know literally everything about you. It’s just how a lot of people think, and they’ve always thought that way.
But the government should not be all-powerful. That’s the whole point of America, actually. That’s why the Constitution exists: it tells the government what it can and cannot do. The Founders never intended the government to have oversight over everything that happens in this country. Hell, when this country was founded, there wasn’t even a federal income tax. That didn’t happen until 1913.
The whole idea at the start of America was that we’d have a federal government for regulating interstate commerce, raising an army (and only in times of war, too, but that’s ancient history now), maintaining international relations, and imposing tariffs. That was basically it. At the very start of things in America, there were only three Federal Cabinet-level departments: State, Treasury and War (now Defense).
But then Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary, wanted to establish a central bank in America. The Constitution, however, didn’t say anything about a central bank, so it was believed that it was unconstitutional to create one. Establishing a central bank in the United States was not listed among the “enumerated powers” (i.e. explicit) of the Federal government.
Hamilton, however, pointed to the “necessary and proper” clause in the Constitution, which basically said that the government has powers that aren’t explicitly granted by the Constitution. That opened up the “implied powers” Pandora’s Box, and over the years, the government has taken more and more “implied powers” and continues to do so today. This is the “necessary and proper” clause, otherwise known as the “elastic clause”:
“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
So basically what this clause means is that the government has powers to do things which are not specifically listed in the Constitution, as long as those things are deemed “necessary and proper.”
Defenders might say that the “necessary and proper” clause gives the Constitution flexibility and an ability to change with the times. But isn’t that what the Amendment process is for?
As always with government, you give an inch, they take a mile. The “necessary and proper” clause now basically means the “unlimited power” clause because it’s been stretched and exploited over the years.
Nowadays, though, it doesn’t even really matter. It’s not even about Congress having theoretically unlimited power, it’s the executive branch now, which all the federal agencies fall under. Nowadays, unelected federal bureaucrats just make new “rules.”
However, the Biden invasion of privacy plan does still have to pass Congress.
While I’m sure the Democrats are all on board with it, because in their minds, All Your Money Belongs To Us, maybe the useless Republican Party will find a way to block it after pressure from its corporate overlords, who apparently are against it.
Still, though, I’m not hopeful. I’m sure the big multinational corporations don’t care one way or another since they already employ battalions of lawyers and accountants to find loopholes and skirt any rules they don’t like.
I have absolutely zero faith the Republican Party will do anything beneficial for the average American. Anything at all, ever.
I found more on this Biden proposal on Zero Hedge. Get a load of this:
Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. financial institutions are currently mandated to report to the government all wire transfers over $10,000, as well as suspicious cash transactions, to prevent criminal activities such as money laundering.
However, Biden and Democratic allies in Congress claim the threshold needs to be lowered to close the “tax gap,” which is the difference between what current federal law requires to be collected by the government and how much actually goes into the Treasury.
The president has maintained that the new reporting rule will mean “the wealthy can no longer hide what they’re making and they can finally begin to pay their fair share of what they owe.”
“That isn’t about raising their taxes. It’s about the super-wealthy finally beginning to pay what they owe—what the existing tax code calls for—just like hardworking Americans do all over this country every Tax Day,” Biden said at a press conference on Sept. 16.
At that same conference, the president noted that 55 of the biggest and most profitable corporations in America paid no federal income taxes in 2020, on what amounted to $40 billion in profit.
“That’s not right. And my economic plan will change that. Not punish anybody, just make them pay their fair share,” he said.
Yeah, I’m sure the 55 largest corporations in the world are hiding their money in $600 savings accounts.
This is yet another step in the government’s war on privacy.
The News-Watchers will probably support it because they support big corporations Paying Their Fair Share, plus they figure they have nothing to worry about since they have nothing to hide.
And they’ll look at you sideways for opposing the government’s plan to monitor your bank account 24/7. What do you have to hide?
The News-Watchers are under the impression that the increasingly totalitarian government isn’t coming for them, it’s coming for the “bad people.” The Trump supporters; the Racists, the unvaxxed. And that’s all fine with them.
But what they don’t realize is their dream of selective tyranny will ultimately just become full-blown tyranny. Was the Soviet Union only harsh to Capitalists and Subversives? No, it was harsh to everybody.
An increasingly paranoid and power-hungry government has an ever-growing enemies list, and eventually that list will grow to include everyone. Including the obedient News-Watchers, who will probably happily welcome every advance of state power and tell themselves “It’s for my own good.”
The propaganda they consume daily has them living in fear, and because of that fear they will give up any and every right they have if it means combating the media’s latest cooked-up bogeyman, whether it be Radical Islamic Terrorists, Russia, Climate Change, White Supremacists, Donald Trump, Covid-19, the Unvaccinated or what have you.
As if the Biden’s bank scheme wasn’t enough, now comes a report from Forbes that Google has been feeding people’s search history to the government:
The U.S. government is secretly ordering Google to provide data on anyone typing in certain search terms, an accidentally unsealed court document shows. There are fears such “keyword warrants” threaten to implicate innocent Web users in serious crimes and are more common than previously thought.
In 2019, federal investigators in Wisconsin were hunting men they believed had participated in the trafficking and sexual abuse of a minor. She had gone missing that year but had emerged claiming to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted, according to a search warrant reviewed by Forbes. In an attempt to chase down the perpetrators, investigators turned to Google, asking the tech giant to provide information on anyone who had searched for the victim’s name, two spellings of her mother’s name and her address over 16 days across the year. After being asked to provide all relevant Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches, Google responded with data in mid-2020, though the court documents do not reveal how many users had their data sent to the government.
It’s a rare example of a so-called keyword warrant and, with the number of search terms included, the broadest on record.
Before this latest case, only two keyword warrants had been made public. One revealed in 2020 asked for anyone who had searched for the address of an arson victim who was a witness in the government’s racketeering case against singer R Kelly. Another, detailed in 2017, revealed that a Minnesota judge signed off on a warrant asking Google to provide information on anyone who searched a fraud victim’s name from within the city of Edina, where the crime took place.
While Google deals with thousands of such orders every year, the keyword warrant is one of the more contentious. In many cases, the government will already have a specific Google account that they want information on and have proof it’s linked to a crime. But search term orders are effectively fishing expeditions, hoping to ensnare possible suspects whose identities the government does not know. It’s not dissimilar to so-called geofence warrants, where investigators ask Google to provide information on anyone within the location of a crime scene at a given time.
Privacy experts are concerned about the precedent set by such warrants and the potential for any such order to be a breach of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches. There are also concerns about First Amendment freedom of speech issues, given the potential to cause anxiety amongst Google users that their identities could be handed to the government because of what they searched for.
“Trawling through Google’s search history database enables police to identify people merely based on what they might have been thinking about, for whatever reason, at some point in the past. This is a virtual dragnet through the public’s interests, beliefs, opinions, values and friendships, akin to mind reading powered by the Google time machine,” said Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “This never-before-possible technique threatens First Amendment interests and will inevitably sweep up innocent people, especially if the keyword terms are not unique and the time frame not precise. To make matters worse, police are currently doing this in secret, which insulates the practice from public debate and regulation.”
The Wisconsin case was supposed to have remained secret, too. The warrant only came to light because it was accidentally unsealed by the Justice Department in September.
I mean, you’d have to be pretty dumb to not just assume Google has been working with the government the whole time. After all, Google was founded with CIA money. (Same with Facebook). When you use Google, you have to assume the government can see everything you search.
But now we have confirmation that this is happening.
To recap: they’re already monitoring your Google search history, and now they want to monitor your bank account.