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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.


Law | Legal Biography