I might add though wolfe, that while encryption does help secure the transmission of data over the internet, the data has to be decrypted again on your home computer. And with the revelation of the NSA leaks that major software companies, including Microsoft are involved with PRISM, I'm not completely convinced that our operating systems do not have a backdoor in place that could simply catch the data and relay it back at any point in time once decrypted.
And as you pointed out, it is very difficult to crack 256-bit encryption on your average PC. However, what the government has available and what the average consumer has is completely different. Dozens of processors working in parallel could crack 256-bit encryption in almost real time.