Unintended Consequences, continued

Here is an interesting case of unintended consequences. In the US, illegal immigrants may file federal tax returns. Apparently about 4.5 million undocumented immigrants do so.

There is an obvious incentive to file: a chance to get a refund. Johnson says another reason is that if a person winds up in immigration court, a record of having filed taxes is considered evidence of “good moral character.”

But now with the fear of deportation, there has been a decline in such tax returns. In a complex society, when the political system tries to solve one problem, or what it defines as a problem, it creates new problems. Here is the story.

We end with a decrease in the moral values (e.g., personal and civic responsibility) and patriotism that the political system was allegedly trying to enhance or protect. Plus the government might end up with lower tax revenue. I say “might” because the IRS can keep the refunds that would have been issued.

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