In 2013, You Paid $574 to the NSA

NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, MD.
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, MD

Imagine being beaten to a pulp by a mafia hit-man. Your nose is broken and dribbling blood, your left eye is swollen shut, you may have broken ribs. Somehow, you manage to stand up. Just then, the hit-man produces an invoice for his services to the tune of $574.

The only thing worse than being violently assaulted is being forced to pay for your own abuser’s time and effort.

That’s what the NSA is like. According to a Cato blog post by Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, every American taxpayer is billed $574 per year to keep the NSA up and running.

For months, the American public has received a steady stream of new information detailing the massive scale and scope of the United States’ spying activities. Of course, maintaining a surveillance state powerful enough to reach into the inboxes of world leaders, friend and foe, is not cheap. Indeed, as the Washington Post revealed when it released portions of the so-called Black Budget, this year’s price tag on America’s spook infrastructure comes out to a whopping $52.6 billion.

This is, of course, a tremendous sum – more than double the size of the Department of Agriculture, more than triple the size of NASA; the list goes on… But, what really puts this number into perspective is its average cost to each American taxpayer, or what I would call the NSA and associated agencies’ “rent.”

Yes, the NSA’s rent, charged to every taxpayer living under its web of surveillance, comes out to an exorbitant $574 per year. If this is the price the federal government is charging American taxpayers to have their own privacy invaded, then I say the NSA’s rent is too damn high.

The NSA is collecting every American’s daily telephone metadata in bulk. It’s surveilling our emails, IM chats, video conferences. It’s systematically violating both statutory and constitutional laws meant to protect Americans’ privacy and individual rights. Even Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the author of the authoritarian PATRIOT ACT, believes NSA activity “threatens our First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights.”

For all this, Americans get a bill. We pay for our own abuse.

18 thoughts on “In 2013, You Paid $574 to the NSA”

  1. I don't pay. I went on strike a while back. The government pays me to sit around and do nothing. I like to keep it that way until they change the whole system.

    1. Yep, like you I don't support the Outlaw USA with any monies aside from taxes I cannot avoid, like the federal tax on gasoline.

  2. You silly American's. You have not only paid for your own abuse, you pay for your own deaths. Why did you think 1 in 29 babies were being born severely multiply infected, Millions suffer Autisms, MS, ALS, Lupus, Arthritis', Parkinson's, Diabetes, Alzheimers, MD, ALD, ME, CFS, PTSD, ADHD, Crohn's, Celiac, Down's, Psych Disease, Cancers, and hundreds more lies so the mass murderers can deny you treatment for what they gave you and keep killing you? Vaccines do nothing but infect you because they already gave everyone the real cause of AIDS.

  3. kind of ironic now, it appears that the NSA is the only part of the govt that actually does listen to us

    1. Well given that they have recorded them, It seems that these programs could be turned to good by making public all the conversations of all the politicians from the us and around the word. The question for me at this point is have political parties and politicians put in requests to erase data that might incriminate them.

  4. $52 Billion a year for the intel "black budget" alone is more than the entire military spending of medium-sized powers like India and Germany.

  5. It isn't as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country. Think about it. No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying "Patriot" Act.

    Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily. Rarely are these offenses punished. Most often "an investigation" is claimed, but soon forgotten.

    ??In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers. USA is # 1!?? Does any of that sound like a free country?

    As Dwight D. Eisenhower said about communism, "It's like slicing sausage. First they out off a small slice. That isn't worth fighting over. Then they take another small slice that isn't worth fighting over. Then another and another. Finally, all you have left is the string and that isn't worth fighting over, either.

  6. Yea it's a pricey plan, but at least you know you'll have full coverage. I looked into getting one of their competitors this year, but their competitors often swept up only between 25-50% of my communications. With the NSA I know they'll get everything and that nothing will fall between the cracks. Every word typed, every phone conversation. You can't put a price on that type of peace of mind. /s

  7. The illegality of such organization is in being secret, the secrecy of a secret matter is when they start lying about NSA, even denying is existence.

    Spying among government is nothing new, is always been there and will remain as a secret relation among government, is just shows that non of these governments trusting each other, nor willing or can trust each other; therefore they spy (illegally) on each other and their people, even the "purest" regime as the Scandinavians, Swedish government in particular is cooperating in buying and selling informations about their citizens from either embassies close by. Secrecy demands to be paid to remain secret, otherwise no one would pay for something that spies on them, or would they?

  8. The NSA hasn't done a thing for me- I'd like to ask for a refund since I'm not getting the benefit of any services for my money. I'm not a wealthy man by any standards (except, possibly, Somalian or Ethiopian standards) and that $574 could go a long way towards helping me live my bargain basement version of the American Dream.

  9. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

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