Is Big Brother Sneaking In?
The student loan interest rate fiasco is an accounting issue currently being debated by Congress. Keep your blinders on because while the
country was paying attention to money talk, CISPA passed 248 to 168 –effectively deeming all existing privacy laws null and void for “cyber-security” purposes.
In a vote last night, the House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyberintelligence Sharing and Protection Act, more commonly known as CISPA. The final roll call was 248-168, with most of the Republicans voting in favor and most of the Democrats voting
H.R.3523 – The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act authorizes any private company (search engines, social media sites, etc.) or government (with authorized security clearance) to monitor and collect internet (or their controlled assets) browsing information AND share it with any other organization or company (with similar authorization) without legal recourse to sue. The bill does not adequately
define just what cyber security purpose is; there is no legal requirement to inform anyone using their services that they participate in this practice; there is no specified agency authorized to use the information; and finally it overrides privacy presumptions found in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Communications Act regarding the privacy
of an individual’s online communications and related records.
The argumentscoming from political circles in Washington regarding the student loan interest extension is not over maintaining
the current 3.4 percent interest rate on government student loans (set to double on July 1, anyway), but where the money is going to come from to continue to pay interest for the 7.4 million students currently receiving the loans.
H.R.4628: To extend student loan interest rates for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans
Democrats want to extend the low student rates by cutting subsidies to oil and natural gas companies, which is opposed by the GOP. The House Democrats proposed tightening taxes on owners of so-called S corporations, assisting them in avoiding paying Social Security and Medicare tax on earnings. This costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
The bill, as written, would transfer money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (a Fund to provide for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs) set aside under OBAMACARE. There is currently $11.9 billion in the fund; under the bill passed by the House, all of those funds would be repealed; the bill directs $5.9 billion to pay for the one-year interest rate freeze and puts the remainder toward deficit reduction.
The GOP voted earlier this month for a 2013 federal budget that lets Stafford loan rates double (as scheduled).
Democrats reluctantly voted to use the same Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for the payroll tax cut extention earlier this year.
So where do you stand on these issues?