It’s been a number of years since St. Matthew functioned as the official publicanus in Judea, where he paid the taxes for his territory and subsequently went to recover his outlay – and then some – by personally collecting taxes from the citizenry in what may be one of the earliest examples of privatization.

Fast-forwarding about 23 centuries, the debate over whether to outsource tax collection, or bolster the ranks of the Internal Revenue Service to keep that function in-house, has hit the House floor, as lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban the use of private tax collectors.

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