Monday, September 04, 2006

Tax farmers

Economist Paul Krugman discusses the US Government's recent decision to put tax collection in the hands of private "tax farmers":

It’s an awful idea. Privatizing tax collection will cost far more than hiring additional I.R.S. agents, raise less revenue and pose obvious risks of abuse. But what’s really amazing is the extent to which this plan is a retreat from modern principles of government. I used to say that conservatives want to take us back to the 1920’s, but the Bush administration seemingly wants to go back to the 16th century.

[...] Maybe people who’ve spent their political careers denouncing government as the root of all evil can’t grasp the idea of governing well. Or maybe it’s cynical politics: privatization provides both an opportunity to evade accountability and a vast source of patronage.

It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives and "economic rationalists" who are constantly going on about fiscal responsibility are so often prepared to just toss money down the toilet, so long as it is a private company doing the flushing.

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