The federal income tax code is saddled with inefficient exemptions, deductions and credits. Streamlining them is an important policy goal, and Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Dave Camp, the respective Chairmen of the two tax writing committees in Congress, are in the process of working through an overhaul of the tax code to lower rates and remove distortionary deductions. Tax simplification is a universal goal, but it has thus far been elusive because what seems a special interest carve-out to many can seem to others the promotion of a valid public policy goal. One example is the deduction for charitable contributions. A group of over two hundred economists published an open letter to Congress as a full page ad in Politico on Thursday, April 25, arguing for the uniqueness of the charitable deduction, which is pasted below.