The latest "unprecedented grab of power": Secretary Geithner's request that Congress grant the executive branch more control over failing financial institutions.
Is your autonomy at risk? Sure... if you're a giant insurance company or hedge fund who's screwed up so badly that you're going to collapse and take the economy down with you:
With such authority, the administration argued, rather than having to spend $170 billion to bailout the American International Group, the government could have put the insurance company into receivership or conservatorship and regulators would have been able to unwind it slowly.
Atop A.I.G. insurance companies “is an almost entirely unregulated business unit that took extraordinary risks to generate extraordinary profits,” Mr. Geithner said Wednesday. “And when this unit’s derivative contract losses pushed A.I.G. to the brink of failure last fall, the entire financial system was endangered" [Anahad O'Connor, "Geithner Campaigns for Broader Control of Financial Firms," New York Times, 2009.03.25].
Think of it this way: suppose you're on a bus and the driver drinking whiskey. You could sit back and let the driver crash—serves him right! The crowd of school kids the bus is about to plow into might feel otherwise. Geithner is suggesting it might be better for everybody if you let him push the driver aside, take the wheel, and guide the bus to a gentle stop so no one else gets hurt.
As O'Connor points out, the power Geithner is requesting is the same power the federal government has had over banks for years to try to prevent internal bank problems from turning into systemic financial meltdown. The bigger economic collapse Geithner seeks to avert is a much greater threat to our liberty than any of the oversight Geithner is seeking over the biggest (and potentially baddest) financial behemoths playing games with our money.