It's been said many times before, and yet people rarely seem to understand that believing in the free market does not necessarily make one a fan of business. Business (especially large corporations) is often willing to fight government over taxes, and yet join government when it suits its own purpose.
As I've written before, in an article discussing Apple and Nike supporting "green" initiatives, there have been countless examples of this. Just a few months ago, Philip Morris teamed up with the Obama administration and supported a bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. Last September, Coca-Cola announced a "world-wide commitment" to support putting energy information on all products. And Wal-Mart has consistently favored legislation in support of a higher minimum wage.
And they're at it again.
Congress is now considering a bill regulating who does your taxes. According to The Wall St. Journal, the legislation "would require anyone who takes money to help people with their taxes to register with the IRS, and eventually pass competency tests and sign up for continuing education."
Predictably, H&R Block, our country's largest tax-preparing company, is all for it. Kathryn Fulton, senior vice president for government relations, told The Washington Post that the company supported the law change. According to Fulton, this means that H&R Block "won't be competing against people who aren't regulated and don't have the same standards as we do."
And, of course, the extra profits they'll be making by crowding out smaller mom and pop tax-preparers has nothing to do with it.
Classical economists are usually in agreement that a monopoly cannot be established except through government; either government completely overtaking a segment of the economy (education) or Big Business teaming up with government (always in the name of "helping people") to lock out competition.