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Erick Erickson / October 15, 2021

Financial ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Is Coming Soon

Every American is a suspect, but the little guy is the chief suspect.

The U.S. Supreme Court in the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio granted police officers the limited right to stop and ask questions of someone engaged in unusual behavior and reasonably believed to be armed and presently dangerous. If the answers given do not dispel an officer’s reasonable concern for safety, he may inspect the outer garments of the individual for weapons. Commonly called Terry stops or “stop-and-frisk,” these became routine in New York City in the ‘90s. Now Democrats intend to deploy them to your bank account. We are all suspects now.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued New York’s stop-and-frisk policy directly cut down on crime. At a 2015 Aspen Institute event, Bloomberg defended the program, saying, “Ninety-five percent of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York. That’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed. So you want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”

Members of Congress, the president and the Internal Revenue Service are increasingly concerned that you are now committing tax fraud against the federal government, and they want your banks to throw you against the wall and frisk you. A lot of Americans deal in cash or with apps that digitally transfer funds between people. They then deposit the funds into bank accounts. From hairdressers to housekeepers and from drivers to plumbers, everyone is now a suspected tax cheat. Like stop-and-frisk, this will disproportionately impact minorities and white blue-collar workers, all of whom participate more significantly in the gig economy than college-educated white voters.

In a letter to Congress, the Biden administration stated it wants to, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, “require banks to report annual inflows and outflows from bank accounts with at least $600 or at least $600 worth of transactions.” The requirement would also apply to services like Venmo, Cash App and Apple Pay — services used by individuals to pay each other. It amounts to a financial stop-and-frisk program where every American is a suspect, but the little guy is the chief suspect.

Last month, House Democrats pulled the measure from their reconciliation plan, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the measure is still on the table. She defended the proposal last week, saying, “Yes, there are concerns that some people have, but if people are breaking the law and not paying their taxes, one way to track them is through the banking measure.”

While Democrats have pitched the plan as a way to target the rich, it very clearly goes after gig economy workers. They would not include services like Venmo if it did not. The Democrats and the IRS are convinced middle class Americans are not paying their fair share of taxes. Because they are convinced you are lying, they want your financial institutions to stop-and-frisk your finances on the government’s behalf.

There are undoubtedly people not fessing up to their revenue. But Congress has assured us no one who makes less than $400,000 a year will be burdened by their plans. That has already been proven to be a lie, but this latest intrusion and invasion of privacy into our lives shows just how pervasive the Democrats want government to be and how much Democrats do not really trust the American people.

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