Bank snooping measure should be rejected out of hand.

No one should be supportive or sympathetic toward tax cheats.

Deceitful failure to pay tax obligations creates additional burdens on everyone else. It contributes to national debt and sparks inflation as government borrows and prints money, practices that amount to hidden taxes not only on current taxpayers but future generations as well.

So the estimated 85% of Americans who dutifully pay all they owe should not only support proper enforcement measures, but demand authorities vigorously pursue cheats. The American tax system is based on voluntary compliance and the good news is the vast majority of people do what they should. Thus, cracking down on cheats is only fair and right.

It still matters, though, how any crackdown is done.

Many readers may have been contacted by their local banks and investment advisors. Buried in proposals for tax reform is a new reporting requirement that would force banks to submit to the Internal Revenue Service records of all deposits and withdrawals for your personal and business accounts. It’s a level of intrusiveness that is intolerable and steps all over considerations of individual freedoms and privacy for citizens.

Remember that figure of 85%. All those complying individuals would still find the government rooting around willy-nilly in their personal business. It’s safe to say most people would object to that. And another consideration: Floating that personal information around on the internet and across government sites creates unnecessary exposures in this era of identity theft. The government has been shown to be weak when it comes to protecting the security of personal information.

We get it. Estimates place lost revenues from tax cheats at tens of billions of dollars annually, shortfalls that result in more borrowing and printing money that our kids and grandkids will have to pay back. The more cheats that are caught and made to pay up, the better.

But not this lazy way, by allowing government agents to sleuth their way without cause through every deposit and withdrawal and financial action in everybody’s accounts, whether they are compliant or not.

Backers of the expanded IRS requirements might say, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.”

Americans should answer, “If I have nothing to hide, and I’m already following the law, keep your snooping nose out of my business.”

For that, in our view, defines the most fundamental American right -- the right to be left alone by an overreaching government.


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