Joe Stack wasn't wrong about the tax code Even the sponsor of the 1986 amendment that punished thousands of software programmers realized it was a mistake By Andrew Leonard That 1986 change in the tax code that Joe Stack, the suicidal pilot who crashed his plane into an IRS building on Thursday, cited as a primal grievance in his online manifesto? According to David Cay Johnston, writing in the New York Times, Stack's beef was legit: the law "made it extremely difficult for information technology professionals to work as self-employed individuals, forcing most to become company employees." And the original reason for the law, well, one can understand why some people would find it a little crazy-making. The law was sponsored by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York, as a favor to I.B.M., which wanted a $60 million tax break on its overseas business. Under budget rules in effect at the time, any tax breaks had to be paid for with new revenues. By requiring software engineers to be employees, a Congressional report estimated, income and payroll taxes would rise by $60 million a year because employees had few opportunities to cheat on their taxes. .