This story from Pro Publica describes how Intuit, the maker of tax-preparation software, has successfully fought efforts to simplify tax-filing (and reduce costs) for tens of millions of Americans. For shame.
And it illustrates a broader point, unfortunately all too common: even when the best solution to a problem is to do less, economic forces invariably will offer a “do more, spend more money” solution, and use their dollars to promote it. Even if your unshod legs could walk or run pain-free down the street, someone will find a way to sell you padded shoes, someone else will give you painkillers for your shin splints and runner’s knee, then the doctor and physical therapist will jump into the fray, now maybe you need treatment for your kidneys, trashed by those NSAIDs, possibly a surgery, and so on.
I don’t have a quick fix, but honesty and transparency are a great start. And, of course, thinking for yourself before each and every purchase. Beware the assumptions that advertising shoehorns into our subconscious.
Kudos to Pro Publica and NPR for their investigation.