- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2001

Afraid of Democrats and their liberal media pimps, Republicans are unable to govern even when they have the public's support.
The economic nose-dive that followed the terrorists' attacks gave President Bush an opportunity for decisive action to restore the economy and keep it strong for years to come. He could have abolished the capital gains tax and made the drawn-out tax rate reductions effective at once.
Instead, Republicans squandered the opportunity presented by a public unified by crisis and, in the name of bipartisanship, turned the agenda over to Democrats, who quickly shifted the emphasis from supply-side incentives to income redistribution. The weak and ineffective tax package that is emerging will sap the public's confidence in Mr. Bush's leadership and ability to invigorate the economy.
If President Bush fights Democrats this timidly, he hasn't a chance against the terrorists. Indeed, bureaucracies and special interests are already using the war against terrorism to advance their own agendas.
The U.S has enough "money-laundering" laws on the books to seize terrorists' bank accounts. Yet, new anti-terrorism initiatives are working their way through Congress. Surreptitiously, these initiatives are advancing "tax harmonization" and extraterritorial tax enforcement agendas of the European Community and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
For example, a money-laundering bill in the House gives the Treasury unchecked powers to make subjective determinations of money-laundering. Among the criteria are "whether a jurisdiction offers special tax advantages" and "the volume of transactions relative to the size of the economy."
Give these criteria a minute's thought. A "special tax advantage" is a tax rate lower than average, or the absence of an income tax or a capital gains tax. By definition, all "tax havens" offer special tax advantages. Under the criteria of the House bill, the U.S. Treasury can determine all tax havens to be "primary money laundering jurisdictions."
Indeed, the state of Florida could be determined to be a money-laundering jurisdiction as it does not have a state income tax.
A jurisdiction can have a high volume of financial transactions for reasons of history, location, presence of financial talent, cost and tax advantages and financial privacy. To make a determination of money-laundering on the basis of volume of financial transactions is inane. What is really needed is a good horsewhipping of the bill's sponsors on the steps of the Capitol.
Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, are using the "war against terrorism" to gain the unaccountable and intrusive powers they've long coveted. These new powers rarely will be used against terrorists.
The RICO racketeering laws, allegedly passed for the purpose of freezing Mafia assets, have been used by the Justice Department to force law firms to settle on its terms and by spouses in divorce cases. The asset forfeiture laws allegedly targeted the assets of drug lords but are applied to 70-year-old grandmothers whose grandchildren are alleged to have brought drugs into the house.
Just as these "targeted" laws were immediately applied to seize assets from innocent citizens, the innocent public not terrorists will bear the brunt of the new surveillance powers.
The vast majority of indictments that will follow from new surveillance powers will not be of terrorists. The powers will be used to force plea bargains from ordinary citizens who unknowingly commit technical violations of bureaucratic regulations.
A decade ago, the Rehnquist Court ruled that prosecutors have no judicially enforceable duty to present grand juries with exculpatory evidence that favors the defendant. This police state ruling gave prosecutors the power to frame people by presenting statements out of context. The new surveillance powers will greatly increase this abuse.
The "war on terrorism" seems mainly targeted against the general public. Rather than profile illegal alien Muslims, the nonterrorist general public is being subjected to invasive searches in order to board airliners.
The new federal office for internal security will outlive Muslim terrorism. Criminals can easily falsify National Identity Cards. The cards will serve as just another way of keeping track of law-abiding citizens.
If the Bush administration is not careful, many Americans will prefer to take their chances with terrorists than with the freshly empowered bureaucrats in Washington. If we become a police state, the enemy will have defeated us.

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