Basically journals get academics to edit and review for free, to write for free, they force you to sign over copyright, and they charge you to access your own paper. [...] Most of the research is probably government and publicly funded anyways. Anyone see anything wrong with this??
No, I don't (and I say this having both published and reviewed academic articles myself).
The point most people here seem to not understand (or find inconvenient) is that most of these journals are published by non-profit organizations. The only significant exception is Elsevier, and I don't publish in their journals.
We researchers submit and review for free because otherwise the journals would stop publishing. Physical Review, for example, publishes something like 150000 pages of articles a year — and that costs money. Yes, they charge libraries a lot, but financially, they're luck to break even each year.
As for charging you for access to your own papers, the policy varies from journal to journal, but here's the APS policy from their author copyright FAQ:
As the author of an APS-published article, may I provide a PDF of my paper to a colleague or third party?
The author is permitted to provide, for research purposes and as long as a fee is not charged, a PDF copy of his/her article using either the APS-prepared version or the author prepared version.
Similary policies are spelled out for Wikipedia articles, re-use of figures in other articles, on-line reprints, and the like. Frankly, I've never heard of a copyright transfer getting in the way of getting work done...