Government Programs Never Quite Work The Way Americans Were Originally Told They Would Work

Yesterday, CBS News reported a small provision on the healthcare bill that might have been overlooked so far in the debate:

“Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.” “

Great.  More people with access to our personal financial information.  Along similar lines, on July 14, 2009, Slate posted an article on the risks of using Social Security numbers for identification.  The article reminds us that:

“Ten years after the SSN debuted, the feds added a clarification to the card in capital letters: “FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES–NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION.” By that point, it was already too late. Three years earlier, President Franklin Roosevelt had issued an executive order allowing other federal agencies to use SSNs rather than launch their own systems. Within 20 years, the IRS, the Civil Service Commission, and the military were all using the numbers to identify people.”

The advantage of using a Social Security number for identification is obvious–it is a unique number that theoretically will attach to only one person–but it was not originally intended for identification–it just evolved into that.  What sort of monster will this healthcare system morph into if another branch of government is given free access to the financial records of American citizens.  This gives new meaning to the joking description of the new healthcare plan as “All the compassion of the IRS with the efficiency of the Post Office!”