Call it what you will--taxes, penalties, fees or fines--but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.
We're operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you've got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.
What Americans don't seem to comprehend is if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, you have no rights.
In this way, the police state with all of its trappings--from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct--is little more than a front for a high-dollar operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.
Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the real motivating factor behind erecting a police state is not to protect the people, but to further enrich the powerful.
Consider the following costly line items, all part of the government's so-called quest to keep us safe and fight terrorism while entrenching the police state, enriching the elite, and further shredding our constitutional rights:
$34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment. Police departments across the country "have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft." The result: increased use of SWAT teams for routine tasks.
$6 billion in assets seized by the federal government in one year alone. This civil asset forfeiture scheme operates on the legal theory that one's property can not only be guilty of a crime but is also guilty until proven innocent. Whether or not any crime is proven to have taken place, police seize and keep private property they "suspect" may be connected to criminal activity.