I'm sure it's positively shocking (shocking!) to find out that a company has convinced politicians to sneak in a bit of language to a bill that favors them over the good of everyone else. The latest is everyone's favorite tax-preparation software maker, Intuit, (who you may recall for their effort to remove features for customers who don't regularly upgrade), who has been lobbying hard to add some language to a funding bill that would prevent the IRS from offering its own e-filing software or service. The reasoning is pretty obvious. And, if pushed on it, the politicians who were lobbied on this point would trot out some prepared phrase about how the government shouldn't compete with private companies. This would be the same argument that was used a few months ago in an attempt to block the National Weather Service from providing its info to the public. Of course, as others have pointed out that makes about as much sense as saying cities shouldn't offer public transportation because it competes with taxi services. Meanwhile, politicians don't seem to have a problem funding public competition for private businesses in areas like venture capital. Apparently, the VC community hasn't contributed enough to various politicians' re-election campaigns.
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