National ID card still a bad idea

Bad ideas have a habit of hanging around our nation’s Capitol, where legislators and bureaucrats hope that they will ripen with the passage of time. Thus it has been with the REAL ID Act, passed by the Congress in 2005 with virtually no debate. From the start, the legislation posed major problems for the states, forced to implement its costly mandates; and for privacy experts, concerned with its many privacy invasive provisions. The Bush administration strongly favored the REAL ID program, but it never could get its act together sufficient to drive home the law’s implementation.

Even when the prior administration issued final implementing regulations in early 2008, the net effect was to throw gasoline on the anti-REAL ID forces already smoldering in dozens of state legislatures and governors’ mansions.

The total cost of the program, including for the states to completely revamp their drivers’ license systems, was estimated to run upwards of $23 billion. This fact alone caused several states formally to balk at moving forward in compliance with the law. (Georgia passed legislation in 2007 permitting the governor to delay implementation of the law until proper safeguards could be put in place).

Officials in other states eager to take advantage of the massive information database that would be created by this de facto national identification card system, claimed that states failing to come on board were harming the fight against terrorism. Proponents of the REAL ID rarely fail to remind their audiences that several of the 911 hijackers possessed state-issued drivers licenses procured through false information (as if having Uncle Sam enforce a single, national standard for drivers’ licenses would magically prevent such problems from ever recurring).

Amazingly, however, the grounds well of opposition in the states to REAL ID has carried the day. Earlier this summer, for example, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, now head of the Department of Homeland Security (which is responsibility for implementing REAL ID), admitted in testimony before Congress, “REAL ID is D.O.A.”

While a bill to repeal REAL ID has just been introduced in the House by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tex.), a new danger is emerging in the Congress. This reflects another, long-revered act of legislative legerdemain – when legislation or a law is in trouble, resurrect it but by a different name. Thus, we now also have the PASS ID bill — essentially REAL ID-lite. In the words of one of the new bill’s key sponsors, Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich, the Congress will now “get it right the second time.”

The problem is, when Congress gets it wrong the first time; it rarely gets it right the second time. PASS ID, while smoothing some of the rough edges of its REAL ID cousin, and promising to lower the cost to the states, suffers from the same privacy invasive problems. It is also, in every sense of the word, a national identification card. Both, for example, would require cards for access to federal buildings and to obtain federal services; both systems would be based on a massive database of citizen information; and both would include imbedded biometric information (and possibly a radio-frequency identification chip).

Not content with relying on PASS ID to secure sufficient support where its predecessor failed, some in the Congress — most notably Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) — are using fear of illegal immigration as another vehicle by which to mandate a national, biometric-identification card that would be required before any person could secure employment.

Clearly, those relishing the creation of some form of national identification card and the national database on which it would rest, will themselves not rest until they have realized their dream. Those of us opposed to such a travesty, likewise must not let up.

39 comments Add your comment

Turd Ferguson

August 10th, 2009
7:49 am

We dont need no Stingkeen ID’s.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 10th, 2009
8:39 am

We already have a national ID card; it’s called a Social Security card. According to the original act you were only required to show it to the Social Security Administration or the IRS but try doing any kind of business, especially with a gov’t agency, without giving up that number.


August 10th, 2009
8:56 am

I imagine that when this ‘real ID’ is implemented it will be packaged along with Obama’s ‘digital medical information’ cure-all. What I don’t see is any mention of using said ID for use in verifying citizenship…neither party seems brave enough to take immigration reform on.


August 10th, 2009
9:29 am

Good job Barr.

Yeah the Social Security card was to be for the SS & IRS use only.
Now, in Georgia at least, you can’t get a fishing license without your SS number. A FISHING LICENSE!

I guess we are trying to keep fishing licenses out of the hands of terrorists.

Chris Salzmann

August 10th, 2009
9:30 am

We already have a form of national ID (actually two). You have to usually provide two forms of ID to get a job, govt, service, etc (usually SS card and Driver’s license). This country, however, DOES need a NATIONAL ID as proof of citizenship and to access services that should be reserved to citizens only. And yes, I’m a liberal but like many feel that illegal immigration should be curbed and this is one of the few ways of doing it. Lets face it, the “good old days” are over, especially in this age of global terrorism and illegal immigration. People need to get their heads out their collective you-know-whats and face up to facts. The world has changed and they need to change with it.

Elephant Whip

August 10th, 2009
11:37 am

Why not up the funding for passports, slowly implement requirements for them as a form of identification in the federal programs concerned, and rename them Passport/USID?

The other plans sound like they are a step away from implanting microchips, genetic profiling, and other creepy big brother/apocalyptic results.

Mother Faulkner

August 10th, 2009
11:45 am

Good morning everybody! More wise words from Mr. Barr–and minimal factual errors this time!

Ms. Sarah Palin, recently in the news for her description of Obama’s coming”death squads,” is said to be in favor of the Real ID Act. I am starting to wonder if Trig is actually the one with Down’s Syndrome…


August 10th, 2009
11:47 am

I have always been against any form of ID card for citizens,for any reason.I’m on the losing side.We are going rapidly down the slope of government surveilance of all of us,all the time.We’re too far gone to come back,I’m afraid,and there’s no turning back,but we can resist further intrusions into our privacy,except that the majority of our good citizens seem to relish government intervention into their pitiful lives.

Other governments arounrd the world are ahead of us in government snooping,but we’re closing the gap.I follow British politics closely and last year their citizens were subjected to over 500,000 queries of their internal phone calls and Emails.That amounted to 1 query for every 78 individuals.That has to be the most lawless country in the world to have to put up with that kind of privacy invasion.

We’ll be there with Britain very soon.It’s the liberal government that’s behind it,by the way.Just like here ….and Venezuela.


August 10th, 2009
12:14 pm

If the feds want a national ID card, they should expand the use of passports, which are not carried on you every day like a drivers license is. I guess they want a national ID you do have to carry on your persons at all times, so that it is easy to expand the number of uses you would need for it. Let them offer cheap passports if they want national ID, and quite outsourcing this nonsense onto State DMVs.

Jonathan Warren

August 10th, 2009
12:32 pm

The existing national ID card is the Passport, and its new counterpart, the passport card.

No bogus contractor’s dream of a $23 billion ‘real ID’ porkbarrel – produced card will be accepted in foreign countries. Only the passport will do that. Therefore, we will never replace the passport with this silly, thinly-veiled, government make-work program called “Real ID”.

When using ID in day-to-day life, a driver’s license gives far too much information. It’s at the cash register that you ID is stolen, when you trust that pimply faced clerk to check your ID to see if it matches your credit card. Store clerks don’t need to know where your children sleep in order to sell you a toaster. They aren’t qualified to check your signature either. In fact, the credit card companies don’t want them even handling your ID, which is why they create things like ’smart pass’, keeping the clerk form touching even your card.

The passport contains no address and no signature sample or physcial description, although it has a photo and a birthdate. It is federal, age-determining ID with an identifying number which isn’t used for anything else. It’s much easier to steal my identity with my drivers license.

In no other country in the world can you open a bank account with international transfer capability, or get on a domestic flight with a drivers license. It’s incredible to think of that beehive hairdo lady at the DVM in rural Arkansas determines who gets on airplanes from Boston to L.A. We should have to use a passport for these purposes. Also, It wouldn’t matter who got driver’s licenses, as long as they could drive, if we didn’t accept them at banks and at airports.

The passport is easily obtained all over the US, costs less than $9 per year, is easily tracked by the State Dept (not some contractor) all over the planet, is recognized worldwide, is the toughest ID to fake and the easiest faked ID to catch. It is already the only foreign ID recognized by the USA, and we have the capability already in place to track foreigners using it to enter here. Do we want foreign visitors to use a different ID too? Why are we having this discussion?

See,, and for more.

gloom and doomer

August 10th, 2009
12:54 pm

It’s beginning to sound like George Orwell and Randy California were off by about 25 years.


Someone will be waiting for you at your door
when you get home tonight
Ah yes he’s gonna tell you darkness gives you much more
than you get from the light

Classic plastic guards well they’re your special friends
he sees you every night
Well he calls himself your brother
but you know it’s no game
You’re never out of his sight

knockin’ on your door
will you let it come
will you let it run your life

– Spirit, “1984″


August 10th, 2009
1:00 pm

Clearly this ID program is to protect citizens, people who pay taxes, and people who have a right to vote. Opposing this idea is opposing integrity in our government processes. The fact that it costs a lot of money demonstrates the ineptitude of the government at protecting its citizens.


August 10th, 2009
1:09 pm

Woodie, how is a national ID card going to protect you?

Mother Faulkner

August 10th, 2009
1:44 pm

Although I agree with Mr. Barr on many of his salient points, I wonder if some of this anti-ID card sentiment is rooted in a fear of the Biblical Mark of the Beast. Silly, I know. However, we’ve had some people in government over the last few years who take such things very seriously:

And to think this man had his finger on The Button…

[...] his AJC “Barr Code” blog, Bob Barr weighs in on the national ID debate, rejecting PASS ID just as much as REAL ID. Notably, he discusses how the immigration issue may [...]

gloom and doomer

August 10th, 2009
1:58 pm

woodie said at 1 PM: “Opposing this idea is opposing integrity in our government processes.”

Integrity / government processes : Ain’t that one of them there dichotomy thingies?


August 10th, 2009
2:05 pm

All you Obozocare idiots, how do you think you would get Obozocare? With a national ID, that connects to a national database.

Mr. Contrarian

August 10th, 2009
2:39 pm

Regardless of your position on Real ID, you will get a National ID card in the guise of a National Health Care card which you will be required to have to get any health care if the Obama/Demcrat proposal passes. The Obama/Democrat plan must be defeated for this and other reasons. You can give up any hope of privacy and care if you get sick or get old.


August 10th, 2009
5:12 pm

Give it a name. The REAL ID, the PASS ID. They’re one in the same. We are moving down a slippery slope when a national ID is mandated in order to get government health care, receive social security, or even open a bank account.

Just wait, sooner or later you’ll have a government official on TV telling us that a national ID card will make us safer from terrorists as well. Thanks, but no thanks….I’ll go ahead and keep my privacy.


August 10th, 2009
5:18 pm

Most anything Schumer’s for should lead one to keep their wallet in hand and vigorously oppose it since he is an elitist whose primary interest is remaining in power through continual reelection to the Senate.


August 10th, 2009
6:33 pm

Can they at least implant the “chip” with all the info in my neck? I hate to have to carry one more thing in my purse. Then we could all be scanned like we’re at the grocery store.

National ID card still a bad idea

August 10th, 2009
9:09 pm

[...] Officials in other states eager to take advantage of the massive information database that would be created by this de facto national identification card system, claimed that states failing to come on board were harming the fight against terrorism. Proponents of the REAL ID rarely fail to remind their audiences that several of the 911 hijackers possessed state-issued drivers licenses procured through false information (as if having Uncle Sam enforce a single, national standard for drivers

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

August 10th, 2009
9:12 pm

Well, they use to talk about putting the Mark of the Beast on people and rattle on about how we were going to loose all our privacy. Right now they’re running people thru machines at airports and using one to look at the private parts of women and such. Next thing they’ll be stripping people buck-nekkid and running them on a conveyor belt thru a machine.

So I don’t see a big deal about a national ID card. We already give up all our privacy. The guvmint listens in on our phone calls and looks at our emails and checks our bank accounts.

There might even be some good to this ID card. It will keep the illegals from taking our jobs and getting free health care. I still ain’t figured out why somebody would hire a illegal instead of one of us rednecks, but they do. So since they already check everything about us except what we flush in the commode, I say bring the national ID card on.

That’s my opinion and it’s very true. Have a good night everybody.


August 11th, 2009
11:01 am

The nice thing about the National ID card that Congressman Schumer is pushing is that it will do away with profiling – all he has to do is put the card holders religious symbol on the face of the card in bold figures, like the Star of David, the Christian Cross, etc., it was quite successful in Europe for a while…

Nancy the Nazi

August 11th, 2009
2:27 pm

We don’t need big insurance crooks either!!!!

Nancy the Nazi

August 11th, 2009
2:24 pm
I don’t want big brother govt telling me how to medicate myself but I am fed up with big insurance crooks!!!


August 11th, 2009
2:47 pm

There hasn’t been an RFID chip in an ID card yet that hasn’t been quickly compromised. The UK has developed and deployed several iterations of the technology each with the unique ability to give your information to anyone with the right technology. These chips were often compromised before they were deployed. Having a database that spans the US means battered wives will no longer be able to hide from their husbands in a different jurisdiction and that government employees with access to the information will have a broader base with which to conduct identity theft. Worse, those employees may now work for state, city, or federal agencies. Do I even need to mention the fact that I don’t use VA services but I’ve received three notices that they may have lost my information? Do I need to point out GAO audits that show that government information technology is basically a giant sieve from which our peronsal information leaks to the world? We should not be copying anything the UK does, not their CCTV network, not their IDs or passports, and certainly not their obsession with collecting every possible piece of information on their citizenry and then losing it twice as efficiently as they collect it. When my ID starts coming with an RFID chip it’s going have an unfortunate accident with a hammer later that day.

midtown libs are queers

August 11th, 2009
11:34 pm

No id needed. You can already tell the two parties apart. The dims mince and swish.

John--U.S. Army

August 14th, 2009
7:16 pm

First off, I have served nearly 20 years with retirement just around corner. I have seen many new toys in our arsenal, intelligence & surveillance methods in which to catch the bad guys. It will eventually be used on our streets of America against the “Un-Americans” Christians on the “list”.
So, I know this ID Card is just around the corner. The national ID card or (CAC) common access card, is already in use by the federal government. Every member of the U.S. Military has had a one for at least five years. This includes, all civilian employees & contractors worldwide working with or in our government. Only recently, has been more real, due to our fast pace digitized society we are living in. 9-11 ushered it in quicker, or actually is it on time? The Lord is orchestrating this whole event. This card is used in many ways especially in the Theaters of Operation (IRAQ-AFGHANISTAN.) It has your medical, personnel records, clothing issued and finance. Overseas, it can be used to feed you, weapons check, keep track of your visits in restricted areas, etc., and which Theater of Operation you are assigned to for your combat pay entitlements. The military is the test bed for the rest of civilian society. We are perfecting it, and eventually every U.S. Citizen will have it in hand, “coming soon to a license branch nearest to where you live”. Don’t kid yourself, our government (Obama) wants to get to know in a very personal way, by tracking and watching everything you do…that time is now.


August 15th, 2009
12:12 pm

Don’t worry, when National Healthcare Reform passes, National ID cards will be an integral part of that legislation. How else will the sheeple of American receive their health care benefits if not positively identified?


August 21st, 2009
6:51 am

The loss of personal freedom is so obvious: can’t opt-out to Big Brother.

Irvin Baxter

September 5th, 2009
3:37 pm

Reply to Mother Faulkner,
I’m sure you’re right. If Mr. Barr takes the Bible seriously, that is the heights of stupidity. The hundreds of millions that take the Bible seriously? Absolute ignoramuses! Almost all of our founding fathers took the Bible seriously and founded our country on its laws. What idiots! Don’t ever trust a person who believes the Bible and what it says about the mark of the beast! (Tongue in cheek)

Mark Robinson

October 20th, 2009
6:53 am

this Id will benefit the USA

Bill Sykes

October 20th, 2009
10:13 am

You know, why don’t we all just put our hands in the air and give the government everything? Because even if we give everything we have, the only way that their can be “national security” is if we get every nation to dismantle all of their nukes.


October 28th, 2009
4:25 pm

Whats more disconcerting to me than the national healthcare id card proposed on page 58 of the HR3200 bill is further down on pages 1000-1006… a proposal for the implementation of a “National Tracking Registry” which includes: Class 2 Medical Implantable Devices” How many of our U.S. citizens are even aware that in 2005 the F.D.A. approved R.F.I.D. human implantable chips as “Class 2 medical devices”? Tommy Thompsom who helped push that thru in 05 while serving as Secretary of HHR now ironically is a large shareholder of Verichip. Learn More on their own websites. and


October 28th, 2009
4:28 pm

In regards to RonnieP’s comment: go to youtube and search IBM commerical. Find the one about the man shopping in the grocery store. This has been the “way” in Europe for over three yrs now. People can stick their heads in the sand all they want, its coming.


August 10th, 2009
6:33 pm
Can they at least implant the “chip” with all the info in my neck? I hate to have to carry one more thing in my purse. Then we could all be scanned like we’re at the grocery store.

Tommy L Dees

December 29th, 2009
5:56 pm

We the People need to stand up for Or rights …no matter what we have to do

Tommy L Dees

December 29th, 2009
5:57 pm

Mark wake up and smell the Coffee

Nathan Eddy

February 16th, 2010
11:27 pm

As I see it, they already require everyone to have a Passport or North American ID Card to cross the border. How about giving everyone in America a Free Passport except those paranoid few who don’t want one. Maybe we can create Special State Passports for eccentric State Righters.
There is perhaps no more fundamental right than for the citizens of a country, however unpatriotic it may sound, than to be allowed to vote with their feet completely free of charge.


May 3rd, 2010
7:57 am

This is another typical Liberal idea. It’s proposed as a “benefit” to national security, but is really a step toward requiring citizens to be registered so the government can keep track of them and determine who is or is not eligible for a variety of government benefits. Politicians have a history of re-naming bad legislation to make it more acceptable, or they use excuses like “national security, child welfare, anti-crime, etc.” If the people of this country oppose this by the 60% – 40% majority appearing in most polls, we are in trouble. That’s about the same as the opposition to Healthcare, and it got shoved down our throats by the Democrats. There is nothing good or beneficial about a national id card.