Charles Lane argued that the “least defensible special break in the U.S. tax code” is the deduction for state and local taxes. This position reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the logic of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). When a state imposes a tax on its citizens, that tax is a charge for the privilege of living and working in the state. It is not a personal expense — failure to pay the tax is a criminal act, punishable by imprisonment. The IRC simply acknowledges that, because the tax has been paid to the state, the funds are not available for taxation by the federal government. The charitable deduction and mortgage interest deduction are, to the contrary, inherently personal expenses, reflecting individual choices having nothing to do with any government payments or federal programs, and the rationale for allowing these deductions is highly suspect.