Posts Tagged ‘mortgage interest deduction’

Dave Camp’s pitch to overhaul U.S. taxes: An impossible dream?

Unlike many previous Republican proposals to cut taxes, the Michigan congressman specifies how government would pay for them. This is critical, but it’s not pretty. On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul America’s complicated tax code. This is both a technical […]

Rethinking Homeownership Subsidies

Tax expenditures for homeownership, such as deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes and the partial exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a primary residence, have long been recognized as ineffective, regressive, and extraordinarily expensive—costing $121 billion in 2013 alone. Until now, most reforms—including the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan—have focused on restructuring the mortgage […]

A New Look at Who Benefits from Tax Expenditures

Who benefits from the tax credits, deductions and exclusions that have become such an integral part of the modern tax code? Nearly all of us. And that’s why any tax reform that eliminates or scales back many of these preferences in return for lower tax rates is so hard to do. The Tax Policy Center […]

A Summer Update on Tax Reform

Over the past week, Washington has been filled with news about tax reform—some reflecting necessary but painful truths and some just bad. In no particular order, here is where reform stands as Congress leaves town for its extended summer vacation: Big rates cuts are very expensive. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that Congress would […]

Smart Tax Reform Could Shrink the Government

Max Baucus and Dave Camp, leaders of the Senate and House tax-writing committees, are on the road promoting tax simplification. One goal: cleaning out the mess of deductions, exclusions, credits, and other tax breaks that complicate the code. Done well, such house cleaning could make for a simpler, fairer, more pro-growth tax code. It could […]

The Challenge of Cutting Deductions to Lower Tax Rates

Two interesting new papers from the Congressional Research Service highlight a major challenge faced by any tax reform that reduces itemized deductions to help pay for lower tax rates—lots of middle-income people would lose at least some benefits from scaling back those deductions. It isn’t a new lesson, but it is one that bears repeating. For instance, […]

Will the Retirement of Max Baucus Open the Door to Tax Reform?

It has become conventional wisdom in Washington that the just-announced retirement of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) boosts chances for tax reform in the short term. I’m not so sure. The upbeat argument goes like this: By announcing that he will not run for reelection in 2014, Baucus is free from the pressures of […]

Is This a Good Time to Reform the Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Housing industry lobbyists often make the case that, whatever you think of the mortgage interest deduction, now would be a terrible time to eliminate or restructure the subsidy. After all, they say, the housing market remains so shaky that ending the deduction would send home prices back into a tailspin. However, there is a contrary […]

Taxes and Paul Ryan’s Budget

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a controversial  plan to balance the budget in 10 years, entirely by cutting planned spending by $4.6 trillion. While Ryan includes lots of specific spending cuts, his tax agenda is far less clear.    In some respects, the former GOP vice presidential candidate mimics the tactics […]

What if the Outrage over Excessive Welfare Extended to the Tax Code?

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has created quite a stir with his estimates that every household below the poverty level receives an average of $168-a-day (or about $61,000-a-year) in government welfare. Sessions’ calculations are extremely controversial and overstate the amount of government assistance for those in poverty. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume he’s right. […]