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TheOtherDave comments on Free to Optimize - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 January 2009 01:41AM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 07 June 2012 12:28:49AM 0 points [-]

I'd be interested in an example of what you think the specification of a deduction looks like.

Comment author: pnrjulius 07 June 2012 02:20:06AM 0 points [-]

I guess it might take a few more pages to precisely describe what constitutes a "charitable organization" or something... it wouldn't take our whole tax code, that's for sure.

Part of the problem is that we have so many stupid deductions. You get to deduct mortgage interest, and children you have, and student loans... we're shifting incentives all over the place without any awareness of what we're doing.

Comment author: VAuroch 02 December 2013 01:45:15AM 0 points [-]

You underestimate the intentionality of the deduction scheme. The things which are incentivized by the tax code are purposeful. They have knock-on effects that aren't anticipated, but that's true of every policy.

Also, you significantly underestimate how difficult it is to specify all the important aspects of the tax code rigorously enough to be enforceable.