Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to raise taxes without much political or economic pain?

A good suggestion, for starters: limit the now-unlimited deduction for home-mortgage interest payments. If you've bought a million-dollar home, financing the purchase with a $750,000 30-year mortgage, you now may deduct the entire interest component of your monthly payment, which could be as much as 4/5 of the payment in the first years of the mortgage. That interest amount is currently deductible, creating a huge drop in income-tax liability for those who inhabit giant, expensive homes.

Why not limit the home-mortgage interest deduction to a fixed sum, say, the amount of interest on a loan equalling a percentage of the median value of homes in various locales? This would leave the deduction intact for those who live in modest homes, but wouldn't allow the wealthy to benefit from their expensive, much leveraged homes at the expense of those who live more modestly.

Tell me, if you can, why that's not fair.

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