Just Fix It

by Don Boudreaux on October 26, 2007

in Taxes

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the New York Times:

There’s widespread agreement that the alternative minimum tax – because it is not indexed to inflation – is mistakenly raising the taxes of millions of Americans (“House Democrats Propose Tax Overhaul,” October 25).  Happily, there’s also widespread agreement that this mistake should be corrected.

So, given that the current operation of the AMT is a mistake, why do Rep. Charles Rangel and so many others talk of the need to “pay for” fixing the AMT?  A merchant who mistakenly overcharges customers is obliged to refund the money and stop overcharging, period.  This obligation kicks in whether or not the merchant devises some way of replacing the revenue that he loses by correcting his mistake.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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