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The Wall Street Journal reports today President Obama’s fiscal panel is considering a proposal that would scale back tax deductions and credits for mortgage interest, health insurance, and children.
On the surface, it would make sense to eliminate these policies. The mortgage interest deduction is more or less a subsidy to the real estate industry. It’s unfair to those who cannot afford a down payment to purchase property and was a contributing factor to the housing bubble. The child tax credit adds complexity to the tax code. The health insurance deduction perpetuates the employer-based health care system, driving up health spending while limiting choice and portability.
The problem is, none of these changes are being proposed as part of broader reforms to simplify the tax code and improve our health care system. Instead, they’re merely being looked at as a means of raising revenue. Americans for Tax Reform estimates that if not offset, this would translate into an effective tax increase of $2.4 trillion over five years.
Politically, none of these proposals would have a chance of going anywhere in Congress. This is especially true of the mortgage interest deduction, which is extremely popular and the subject of intense lobbying efforts by the real estate industry. With the housing market still weak, it’s unlikely that there would be much of a constituency for ending this subsidy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?