With the Share Your Spare Act, Rep. Larry Kissell of North Carolina has injected an ethical question into the proceedings 112th Congress. What is a tax credit for? Is it to reward selfless behavior? If selfless behavior is institutionally rewarded, is it no longer selfless? And should we worry about such questions, or simply be glad that the desired behavior is accomplished, selfless or not?
If passed into law, H.R. 2755 would authorize up to $10,000 in tax credits for each person who donates an organ to another person. Would you call that an incentive to donate organs? Should that behavior be incentivized?
What if I told you that the tax credits are meant to be applied against the direct costs incurred by an organ donor? Would that change your mind?
What if I told you that the tax credits are also meant to be applied against the indirect opportunity costs incurred by an organ donor — that is, the wages she or he might have earned if not donating an organ? Would that change your mind?
What do you think?