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Times Headline Defines Patriotism As Forking It Over to the I.R.S.

A retired federal employee reports a flaw in a tax-prep program that could have saved him money, and the Times honors him as a true patriot: Taxpayer Could Have Kept the $600, but He Put His Country First."
The Times has found its idea of an American who has "put his country first" - by paying all the taxes he owed the I.R.S.

David Kocieniewski's piece on Wednesday's Business front page, "Taxpayer Could Have Kept the $600, but He Put His Country First," told the story of Charlie Freret, a retired federal employee, who found a flaw in the online tax preparation software TurboTax that would have unwittingly saved him $600 in taxes by counting the same medical deduction twice.

Mr. Freret said he figured that he probably could have taken the $600 bonus and never been caught because retiree medical benefits seem unlikely to flag an audit. But as a federal employee he also worried that millions of other taxpayers might do the same, further depleting the nation's already troubled treasury.

"It seemed like the right thing to do," said Mr. Freret, 63, adding that he has always tried to adhere to the code of conduct instilled at his alma mater, Washington and Lee University. "The honor code called for you to be a Southern gentleman: 'Don't lie, don't cheat and don't steal.' " he said.

Freret indeed did the honorable thing. But one has to ponder: When was the last time the paper honored someone - a soldier, perhaps? - for a patriotic act in a headline.