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Congress Created Them All

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

You’re right to worry that Uncle Sam responded to the public’s anxiety about terrorism by creating an overgrown intelligence bureaucracy with bloated budgets that strain our wallets and arbitrary powers that mock the Constitution as they threaten our freedoms (“The overgrowth of intelligence programs since Sept. 11,” July 22).

But why do you not also worry about similar extensions of government’s reach into areas such as health-care and finance?  As with fears of terrorism, Americans’ concerns about the cost of medical care and the role of Wall Street have been cynically stoked and used by politicians to expand the role the state.  Vast and bloated bureaucracies are being created to exercise arbitrary powers that are unconstitutional as well as a threat both to our freedoms and to our prosperity.

Will bureaucrats in, say, the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection spend taxpayer funds more wisely than do bureaucrats in the NSA?  Is the power to command people to purchase health insurance, or the power to prohibit consenting adults from buying and selling certain kinds of financial instruments, really so mild and beneficial that we should calmly welcome the exercise of these powers while we simultaneously quake with fear at the exercise of “intelligence” powers?

Donald J. Boudreaux