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Conference Proceeding

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I first met Boris Bittker on January 21, 1977, in Miami. There are only a handful of people whom you remember first meeting. For me, Boris was one. For the past twenty or so years, I have been lucky enough to count him as a friend. He was always Boris to me, never Borie. I was a new friend—too much his junior to be so informal. Our phone would ring. "Mike, it's Borie," he would say. "Hello Boris!" I would respond.

The conference where Boris and I met was a gathering of about thirty tax law professors and public finance economists to discuss a paper by the conservative tax economist Norman Ture (whom I later learned Boris had known for more than thirty years from their Army days together). There were four formal commentators. Boris and I were the lawyers; Richard Musgrave and Martin Feldstein were the economists. I was young then and flattered to be included at the table alongside Boris Bittker, whom I knew only through his writing and his colossal reputation. Ture's paper attacked progressive taxation, all taxes on capital or capital income, and in particular, the double tax on corporate income—all issues that are still hotly debated today.

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