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Collection Conundrum.

The debate over the use of private debt collection agencies to go after tax deadbeats tends to center on whether it's appropriate to give bill collectors access to tax records. But the Post's story this weekend on the subject notes (albeit several paragraphs in) that this obscures a simple fact: "People on both sides of the issue say they believe IRS workers can collect unpaid taxes more cheaply and effectively than contract collectors." Ponder that for a second. In so many issues concerning public policy implementation, it's extraordinarily difficult to determine which mixture of government employees and contractors can best get the job done. In this case everybody agrees it's a no-brainer: Hire more feds. But politically, that solution can't even be on the table any more.