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In July, before rewarding themselves with more vacation days than you'll get over the next decade, the United States Senate actually addressed a real issue facing the nation. The esteemed legislative body passed a transportation bill in hopes that a bridge won't collapse on a bus full of orphans. But bridges cost money.


Now some might say a reasonable funding approach would be to increase the gas tax that has been holding steady at $0.18 per gallon since 1993. But those people aren't Republicans.

Included among a smattering of the bill's patchwork funding measures is a provision that would replace IRS agents with private debt collectors. Yes, we could increase the gas tax by a penny or two on people who use the roads we want to repair. But nah, let's go ahead with the Mike Huckabee pre-ejaculate that precedes his dumb "Abolish the IRS" wet dream. Gross.

Private contractors, is there anything they can't do? From wars to water (and more wars), three decades of privatization have generally shown that the only thing more inefficient than the federal government is the outsourcing of government functions. In fact, we've tried privatized tax collection before, including a smaller program from 2006-2009 that cost taxpayers millions of dollars:

The reason the government loses money when it farms out IRS duties is because the people who owe

back taxes generally don't have any money [...] Putting debt collectors in charge of those accounts won't create any new money for the households. It will, however, create new administrative costs.

So by all means, let's empower shitbird collectors, who mislead and intimidate their targets, by setting them loose on the doorsteps of struggling Americans and giving them a slice of the revenue they collect. What could go wrong?

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This invasive stupidity is universally supported by a party that includes an influential doughboy who threatened to wield shotguns at approaching government workers who just wanted to count people, pursuant to the Constitution.

But before we go all "fucking GOP rabble rabble," it should be noted that prominent Democrats previously supported privatization efforts. Both sides do it!

Back in 2014, Sen. Chuck Schumer, always eager to initiate a Chinese finger trap with basically any financial services company, proposed similar legislation and rationalized the outsourcing by saying it will "create jobs" (for two New York state collection firms). Guess a "private sector" job looks better in campaign literature than an equivalent yet more efficient "government" job. Great stuff. Let's make that guy Minority Leader.

According to the Huffington Post, the current transportation bill before the House of Representatives includes the language that privatizes debt collection. Democrats led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Legend) have an amendment that would strip the measure from the bill, but it sounds unlikely to receive necessary support.

Compared to aggressive debt collectors, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help," will now sound like "I'm from Prince's tour bus. Please come aboard, we have weed and artisanal sandwiches."

Small government, everyone! Yay!

[HuffPo]

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