To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Public Employee Rights During Free Time | ON LABOR
Rangers admitted that threats came on Twitter and rumors started at their jobs; employees feared they would be identified and reported to their superiors at work. Ultimately, they handed the account over, so the park service would stop any “digging on its own employees.” The stress from public employers trying to figure out the park rangers’ identities, coupled with public scrutiny about revealing their identities, pressured the rangers to drop their activism a mere 4 days after they started a movement.
open_knowledge 
6 days ago
How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing - ProPublica
Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years — more than Apple or Amazon. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit's disclosures pointedly note that the company "opposes IRS government tax preparation."

The disclosures show that Intuit as recently as 2011 lobbied on two bills, both of which died, that would have allowed many taxpayers to file pre-filled returns for free. The company also lobbied on bills in 2007 and 2011 that would have barred the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, from initiating return-free filing.

Intuit argues that allowing the IRS to act as a tax preparer could result in taxpayers paying more money. It is also a member of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which sponsors a "STOP IRS TAKEOVER" campaign and a website calling return-free filing a "massive expansion of the U.S. government through a big government program."

In an emailed statement, Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller said, "Like many other companies, Intuit actively participates in the political process." Return-free programs curtail citizen participation in the tax process, she said, and also have "implications for accuracy and fairness in taxation." (Here is Intuit's full statement.)

In its latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, Intuit also says that free government tax preparation presents a risk to its business.

Roughly 25 million Americans used TurboTax last year, and a recent GAO analysis said the software accounted for more than half of individual returns filed electronically. TurboTax products and services made up 35 percent of Intuit's $4.2 billion in total revenues last year. Versions of TurboTax for individuals and small businesses range in price from free to $150.

(H&R Block, whose tax filing product H&R Block At Home competes with TurboTax, declined to discuss return-free filing with ProPublica. The company's disclosure forms state that it also has lobbied on at least one bill related to return-free filing.)

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US_Politics 
12 days ago
[no title]
The Top 1 Percent in International and
Historical Perspective†
Inequality 
13 days ago
"They tried to supplant mainstream media": Jane Mayer on the billionaire behind Bannon and Trump - Vox
What the Mercers did, with the guidance of Steve Bannon, was not just fight the press — they tried to supplant mainstream media. They invested $10 million or so in Breitbart News, building it into a formidable platform for economic nationalism, and they put millions into creating and funding the Government Accountability Institute, which provided their own politically potent content to the mainstream press.
open_knowledge 
17 days ago
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