Sunday, October 09, 2005
From my cold, dead hands: As a relatively new homeowner who actually gets money back from the government now that Hoystory World Headquarters isn't a rental, you can take my mortgage interest deduction when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
Just as the nation's housing boom appears to be slowing, debate is starting among policymakers about reining in one of the most sacred cows of American public policy: the mortgage-interest deduction and other generous tax benefits granted to homeowners.
A presidential commission on tax reform will take up the subject for the first time Tuesday. "Everything's on the table," said Charles Rossotti, a panel member who was commissioner of internal revenue from 1997 to 2002.
It's political suicide to support the abolishment of the home mortgage interest deduction -- and you can be sure that just about every politician realizes that. However, there are discussions of doing away with other, related taxes breaks like the property tax deduction.
What really irks me about these sorts of discussions is the way that some on the left and big-government supporters frame the debate -- a view that many newspapers reflexively adopt.
A nonpartisan budget group estimated that the capital-gains measure would cost the government $5.8 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. Instead, it's been about 60 times that.
Letting you keep your own money is "lost revenue." Typical.