Benjamin Zycher, a Rand Corp. economist, deserves the Apologia Award for his efforts (Editorial Pages, Feb. 5), "On Behalf of Tax Loopholes."
He makes no case for loopholes themselves; he even admits that they "may distort private investment decisions" and have an "economic cost" that is undesirable. What then, is there to say on their behalf? Here's the great contribution, he says, they "constrain the ability of our avaricious government to overtax the citizenry," prevent it from "consuming too large a slice of national wealth." See, says he, loopholes are bad, but they keep income away from the big spenders.
As a backstop, he has the argument that even if these loopholes are removed, they will return as the result of pressure groups affecting congressional action. Is that a reason for a being against their elimination? After all, if they can be canceled, why can they not be kept out in the future?
No, says Zycher, there will be no success now or then. The pressure groups will effectively prevent action. With this argument I agree. But I see him as a member, or spokesman for, those very groups. Is this a legitimate reason to favor tax loopholes?