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Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction

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I am curious what my 4aynrandfans friends think about the proposal to drop the mortgage interest deduction.

I hope the deduction gets removed. Of course, I also hope taxes go away. ;)

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I am curious what my 4aynrandfans friends think about the proposal to drop the mortgage interest deduction.

I hope the deduction gets removed....

This "deduction" unjustly penalizes renters. Everyone should be taxed the same. No-one should be privileged or favored.

We need a pure FLAT TAX. We need tax simplification such that the whole code can be written on a single piece of paper. The economy would boom!

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This "deduction" unjustly penalizes renters. Everyone should be taxed the same. No-one should be privileged or favored.

We need a pure FLAT TAX. We need tax simplification such that the whole code can be written on a single piece of paper. The economy would boom!

This is a bit like arguing that we should vote for Obama because McCain is not a proper Objectivist.

Any lowering of taxes is good in my books, particularly those that affect the middle classes.

Watch how the market rallied upon Obama annoucing a reduction in payroll tax by a third. This will have far more of an effect - at 120 bn USD supposed "cost" - than the 800 bn USD "stimulus" (where did the stimulus money come from again? Oh yes, debt - paid for by currency devaluation, which is a tax - and taxes; how taxing a population to give it back its own money minus a wasted cut is going to help an economy escapes me).

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This is a bit like arguing that we should vote for Obama because McCain is not a proper Objectivist.

Any lowering of taxes is good in my books, particularly those that affect the middle classes.

Watch how the market rallied upon Obama annoucing a reduction in payroll tax by a third. This will have far more of an effect - at 120 bn USD supposed "cost" - than the 800 bn USD "stimulus" (where did the stimulus money come from again? Oh yes, debt - paid for by currency devaluation, which is a tax - and taxes; how taxing a population to give it back its own money minus a wasted cut is going to help an economy escapes me).

Why that (in bold)? Wouldn't it be more important to lower the taxes on the most productive?

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Because they are the hardest hit. It has been a campaign by the Socialists for most of the 20th century to rid the country of the middle class - the people not quite talented or driven enough to be entrepreneurs, but who are hard working, have conservative values, and just want to live an unimpeded life.

These people bear the worst of the tax burden, because they earn enough to be attacked as "the rich", villified in suburbia-hating Hollywood movies, in large enough numbers that a small haircut generates "revenue".

I am not defending redistribution. I would just much prefer living in a country where the middle class is the majority, and most empowered (call it Jefferson's farmers if you will) than one ruled by an intellectual or financial elite (the latter of which I belong to) with a large, mostly sheep-like working class.

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Any lowering of taxes is good in my books, particularly those that affect the middle classes.

Many if not most of these tax deductions are rewards for arbitrarily designated, government-sanctioned social engineering schemes -- whether they be for getting married, for having children, for paying a mortgage, for driving supposedly eco-friendly putt-putt vehicle, etc., etc., etc.

I also note that no similar rewards are available to those foolish enough to remain single, childless renters driving used Mazdas. On the contrary, the single, childless, Mazda-driving renter is bilked to the last tax dime to "pick up the slack".

Even if, as you suggest, the mortgage interest deduction represented a "lowering of taxes", why should only those individuals paying mortgages -- middle-class or otherwise -- enjoy this particular "lowering" and those paying rent not?

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Many if not most of these tax deductions are rewards for arbitrarily designated, government-sanctioned social engineering schemes -- whether they be for getting married, for having children, for paying a mortgage, for driving supposedly eco-friendly putt-putt vehicle, etc., etc., etc.

I also note that no similar rewards are available to those foolish enough to remain single, childless renters driving used Mazdas. On the contrary, the single, childless, Mazda-driving renter is bilked to the last tax dime to "pick up the slack".

Even if, as you suggest, the mortgage interest deduction represented a "lowering of taxes", why should only those individuals paying mortgages -- middle-class or otherwise -- enjoy this particular "lowering" and those paying rent not?

I agree with your argument (as a single utility-minded renter with a tendency to pick "the solution that works", and who uses the extortionately expensive Swiss public transport) and my defence of the tax cut is only based on a preference for lower taxes altogether, rather than a specific point.

This one was indeed, as you hint, for the "American Dream of Home Ownership". I.e. "let's subsidize crack addicts on welfare so they can buy a house and thrash it".

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Any lowering of taxes is good in my books...

...how taxing a population to give it back its own money minus a wasted cut is going to help an economy escapes me.

If a nation doesn't pay its bills, it will go bankrupt, and be destroyed. All its freedom will die too.

All these evil tax cuts over the past ten years with Bush and Obama have DECIMATED the economy. Clinton balanced the budget for eight years -- and the country and economy FLOURISHED.

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In Australia and Canada, the family home is not subject to capital gain taxes or deductions for mortgages. The government leaves this area free for the moment.

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Any lowering of taxes is good in my books...

...how taxing a population to give it back its own money minus a wasted cut is going to help an economy escapes me.

If a nation doesn't pay its bills, it will go bankrupt, and be destroyed. All its freedom will die too.

All these evil tax cuts over the past ten years with Bush and Obama have DECIMATED the economy. Clinton balanced the budget for eight years -- and the country and economy FLOURISHED.

Clinton did not balance the budget. Clinton did not have the backing from Congress to get his most sought after agendas approved all at once. Capitalism, even with a noose around it's neck was still so productive that even Clinton could not stop the propsperity from happening. One should not give credit where it is not do.

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In Australia and Canada, the family home is not subject to capital gain taxes or deductions for mortgages. The government leaves this area free for the moment.
I've learnt since I moved down here there are schemes to lower the income tax burden via salary sacrifice and living away from home allowances, to cite a few examples. Correct me if I'm wrong, but tax returns are simpler in Australia, too.

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The mortgage deduction is not a "reward" for home ownership. It was an attempt to manipulate the economy and the voters. You can say that there never should have been such a discrepancy of lower taxes for those borrowing for a home, but you can also equally well say there never should have been higher taxes for those who don't. A tax deduction is a reduction in what is taken from you, not a gift.

With a government trillions in debt that is growing daily, the spending has nothing to do with the taxes; those fortunate enough to have the deduction are not getting it at the expense of those who do not, they are simply paying less taxes than they otherwise would. Arguments over "reforming" taxes by "equalizing" such deductions in terms of what "should" be under a hypothetical much less intrusive government spending orders of magnitude less than today are irrelevant to what we have now.

I think Phil's post, objecting to eliminating the deduction ("what for?") is based on that perspective. Whatever you can do to keep your taxes down, take advantage of it while you can to that small extent. Save yourself if you can, defend your right to lower taxes, and don't feel guilty about it in the name of economic "equity" of tax rates in this mess.

As a more immediate "practical" matter of politics, we also know that those advocating eliminating the deduction are doing so to "pay" for the debt. They have no intention of keeping total taxes steady or decreasing while equalizing the imposition. They are doing it to raise taxes and take more money. "Reform" to them means eliminating what they call "loopholes" -- i.e. changing the law to raise taxes by collecting taxes they are not currently authorized to take and were not intended to be authorized but which they want. "Reform" and "equity" always turn out to mean more taxes.

People are also counting on the law in their personal finances. They have bought homes assuming that they can afford to pay the mortgage (those who intended to pay the money back at all); they take the mortgage deduction into account in anticipating what they can afford. A sudden removal of the deduction is a disruption imposing devastation.

We also know that even when promises are made to make changes "revenue neutral" they are disingenuous. Reagan's second "tax reform" trading eliminating deductions for lower rates to "simplify" taxes was at the time the highest tax increase in history. Congress quickly reneged and raised the rates. The only time Democrats and statist Republicans care about deficits is when they want to raise taxes.

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I hope the deduction gets removed.

What the hell for?

Well, I'm selfish. I also don't think it works.

About 14 years ago I got to speak with Congressman Vic Fazio at a friend's house. I asked about the possibility of us ever getting a flat tax. His reply was textbook, "Well, that would do away with the mortgage deduction and that would hurt the construction industry." I replied, "Well, if you give me a tax rate close to those I've heard proposed I'll go out and buy another house." You could have heard a pin drop. See, I wasn't paying attention to the dangling carrot, nor did I buy what I see as behavior modification through taxation. I own real estate and still don't like the deduction. I just always thought it was a sham.

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I think the problem, and the strongest reaction to this proposal to remove the mortgage deduction, is the cavalier way that it is done and the fact that it is not a decision made in isolation.

Washington doesn't just drop context, they annihilate it. There are millions who made important decisions, in this case to buy a home, based on their best effort at a sound rational calculations based on an irrational manipulated socio-political environment. And, now that they've sunk hundreds of thousands in that home, secure in the knowledge that they have saved money and made an investment worth a certain amount of money -- I'm talking before or after the distortions of the housing bubble -- they have that security ripped from them and are now liable for thousands more a year for as long as they own that now suddenly-more-expensive property. And you can bet that the loss of that deduction will crater the housing market even further, trapping them in that tax millstone (although, yes, by the same logic, it'd probably stimulate the rental market somewhat).

Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

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Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

Absolutely . . . I would add that a "flat tax at a low rate", at whatever stage it is adopted, must NOT be progressively structured on "income". It must be a true "flat" tax.

Incidentally, in my state of New Jersey the State/Local property taxes are the true fleecing mechanisms and quite apart from a consideration of Federal mortgage interest deductions.

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Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

All of which has nothing to do with this proposal to eliminate the deduction. They only want more money through a new tax they are not currently allowed to impose. All the rest is sophistry intended to intellectually disarm the resistance. No one should be helping them with irrelevant appeals to "flatter" taxes used as an excuse to increase taxes.

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Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

All of which has nothing to do with this proposal to eliminate the deduction. They only want more money through a new tax they are not currently allowed to impose. All the rest is sophistry intended to intellectually disarm the resistance. No one should be helping them with irrelevant appeals to "flatter" taxes used as an excuse to increase taxes.

I agree.

Slightly different subject. At this point some Nevada government agencies seem to be taking matters into their own hands without any regard of what is within the law or not. For example; the state employment security division intends on raising the rate of that tax by 50% on January 1, 2011 so that they can keep giving money to people sitting at home. So, people that run businesses in Nevada are going to have to come up with even more money to give to the government so that they can give it to people, that for the most part, are not even attempting to be productive.

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Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

All of which has nothing to do with this proposal to eliminate the deduction. They only want more money through a new tax they are not currently allowed to impose. All the rest is sophistry intended to intellectually disarm the resistance. No one should be helping them with irrelevant appeals to "flatter" taxes used as an excuse to increase taxes.

When I was little, I recall that my father instructed us to save every sales receipt from any purchase no matter how small. These he collected in bags and envelopes stashed all over the house. When the time came for him to prepare his taxes, those bags and envelopes of receipts were brought out along with his trusty adding maching and talied one by one. The suprisingly large result (sales taxes add up very quickly) was a welcome and then-allowable deduction from his Federal tax burden. It was also reasonable in that was a deduction of taxes already paid. At some point during the 1970s, however, that general sales-tax deduction was disallowed by the IRS. Why was this done? For no other reason than to garner additional tax revenues and on top of other tax revenues to boot. Among other things, the decision was entirely arbitrary.

I certainly am under no delusion that the current talk of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is anything other than a scheme to garner additional tax revenues. However your suggestion that this represents a "new tax they are not currently allowed to impose" is false. Not allowed by whom and/or what? The 16th Amendment is transparent: "They" are free to impose any tax upon any person and for any reason and by any calculus and at any time. Just as "they" arbitrarily threw bones at prospective home owners through the mortgage interest deduction, so too can "they" take them away whenever it suits "their" fancy.

As a former homeowner, I have a certain degree of sympathy for the problems that might arise, for both current and prospective homeowners, from the removal of the mortgage interest deduction. However, I am not overly moved by the tales of woe because my daily existence entails the foregoing of choices precisely because my tax burden is so high as to preclude them and, as a single renter, I am allowed NOTHING comparable by the taxing authority to ease that burden.

Welcome to my world!

As I see it, unlike the sales-tax deduction which had been available to all Americans, the mortgage interest deduction, available as it is to only a certain class of citizens, is as it has always been an arbitrary and unequal treatment of citizens under the "law". It is a further testament not only to the general irrationalism of the tax code in its present manifestation but to its essential immorality.

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Over and above the disgusting sentiment of wanting to spread thievery around equally (any self-identified O'ists remember the phrase "Morality ends where the point of a gun begins"?), I'll note that those renting houses are very likely also indirectly gaining a benefit from any interest deductions that can be taken by the actual homeowner - and if their costs go up, it's a dead certainty that your rent will also rise.

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Over and above the disgusting sentiment of wanting to spread thievery around equally . . .

Precisely to whom is this insult directed?

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Something like this should be preceded by a major restructuring of taxes, as in a flat tax at a low rate, along with major cuts in entitlements. None of that is likely, but some version of that pattern would be more just than simply and cynically fleecing those who have been herded into the "own a home" pen, only to be slaughtered to allow the Congress to continue to spend like drunken maniacs.

To summarize: It's a question of the order of these actions and dependencies. The elimination of deductions should follow the institution of a rational taxation model and much lower spending.

All of which has nothing to do with this proposal to eliminate the deduction. They only want more money through a new tax they are not currently allowed to impose. All the rest is sophistry intended to intellectually disarm the resistance. No one should be helping them with irrelevant appeals to "flatter" taxes used as an excuse to increase taxes.

When I was little, I recall that my father instructed us to save every sales receipt from any purchase no matter how small. These he collected in bags and envelopes stashed all over the house. When the time came for him to prepare his taxes, those bags and envelopes of receipts were brought out along with his trusty adding maching and talied one by one. The suprisingly large result (sales taxes add up very quickly) was a welcome and then-allowable deduction from his Federal tax burden. It was also reasonable in that was a deduction of taxes already paid. At some point during the 1970s, however, that general sales-tax deduction was disallowed by the IRS. Why was this done? For no other reason than to garner additional tax revenues and on top of other tax revenues to boot. Among other things, the decision was entirely arbitrary.

The elimination of the itemized deduction for sales taxes wasn't arbitrary; it was eliminated by Congress (not initiated by the IRS) along with other, similar deductions (I think in the 1980s, not the 1970s) in exchange for lower income tax rates. The combination of lower rates and less deductions was promised to result in no net increase in taxes.

It is true that a tax on income already taxed is an unfair tax on a tax, but a tax on income not already taxed some other way is just as unfair unless you think you should be taxed because you have income. The tax on income spent on taxes is just another way to increase taxes through one artificial way of calculating them after another. The advantage of eliminating the sales tax deduction and other such deductions was supposed to have been that it simplified filling out tax forms by eliminating hours of tedious collection of receipts, which is also a tremendous burden on taxpayers, without increasing total taxes. It didn't work because Congress soon raised the rates again and did not restore the deduction. They always do that.

So now you have higher taxes without the "option" of wasting your time on shoe boxes full of receipts to keep them down. Meanwhile the sales taxes keep going up -- recently to 7% in NJ -- as taxes on taxes accumulate and the rates all go up. The accumulated methods of unfairness also increase, but much of that is not fundamental and serves as a distraction leading people to fight and resent each other rather than the government. It's pressure group warfare of the dog eat dog welfare state at its finest, pitting one group against another over taxes as well as spending. It keeps the dogs from noticing the kennel they are trapped in.

I certainly am under no delusion that the current talk of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is anything other than a scheme to garner additional tax revenues. However your suggestion that this represents a "new tax they are not currently allowed to impose" is false. Not allowed by whom and/or what? The 16th Amendment is transparent: "They" are free to impose any tax upon any person and for any reason and by any calculus and at any time. Just as "they" arbitrarily threw bones at prospective home owners through the mortgage interest deduction, so too can "they" take them away whenever it suits "their" fancy.

Eliminating the mortgage deduction would in fact be a new tax they are not currently allowed to collect. If the IRS could collect it now it would be doing it. It cannot because the law does not allow it. The deduction is a law passed by Congress. The IRS (and more notoriously some state governments like Maine) "re-interpret" laws on their own to impose new taxes, but they do it by exploiting ambiguities; the IRS cannot on its own change basic deductions like the one for mortgages. That is why the proposal is for Congress to eliminate the deduction. A new tax imposed by Congress would be a new tax not currently authorized, not the closing of an unintended "loophole" or a "reinterpretation" by the IRS.

As a former homeowner, I have a certain degree of sympathy for the problems that might arise, for both current and prospective homeowners, from the removal of the mortgage interest deduction. However, I am not overly moved by the tales of woe because my daily existence entails the foregoing of choices precisely because my tax burden is so high as to preclude them and, as a single renter, I am allowed NOTHING comparable by the taxing authority to ease that burden.

Welcome to my world!

As I see it, unlike the sales-tax deduction which had been available to all Americans, the mortgage interest deduction, available as it is to only a certain class of citizens, is as it has always been an arbitrary and unequal treatment of citizens under the "law". It is a further testament not only to the general irrationalism of the tax code in its present manifestation but to its essential immorality

The whole tax code is like that. That is not a reason to raise other people's taxes. If someone else has a way to avoid taxes that is not currently available to you that is not a tax on you and not a reason to eliminate his deductions. Instead, argue that your taxes should be lower, too -- that includes lowering rates as well as compensating "deductions" because the deductions makes the taxes more progressive and still hurts those paying the higher rates. But none of this is a valid argument for eliminating other people's deductions.

In NJ as a renter you have had a way under state law to at least partially "ease the burden", though to a lesser extent because state taxes are lower than Federal taxes. The Homestead Rebate is a "credit" on NJ state income taxes available to renters as well as home owners paying local property taxes, but is not available to the owner of the property you rent. The state "credit" was intended to compensate for NJ's unusually high property taxes (compared to most other states) on the theory that property taxes are included in rent charged. (That reasoning is fallacious because rents, like any price, cannot be arbitrarily raised to cover costs regardless of the market and people's ability and willingness to pay more, and is only one example of NJ laws discriminating against property owners.)

The NJ Homestead Rebate has been cut back this year because of the acknowledgment of the state budget crisis and the necessity to do something other than increase state taxes. The new partial limit on municipal property taxes (along the lines of the limit in Massachusetts) was supposed to substitute for the reduction in state spending that was intended for relief from the escalating local property taxes. This change under Gov. Christie is at least in the right direction because it seeks to lower total government spending rather than have one level of government spend more because another one does. But it is only a partial implementation (not even as strong as the one in Massachusetts, which also has too many loopholes), and leaves too many "leaks" to shift the spending around as total taxes go up.

But in NJ you should not assume that property owners are getting breaks in contrast to renters. NJ law is rigged against property owners across the board, from high property taxes to liability law to landlord-tenant law. Why are you still in NJ at all?

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Over and above the disgusting sentiment of wanting to spread thievery around equally (any self-identified O'ists remember the phrase "Morality ends where the point of a gun begins"?), I'll note that those renting houses are very likely also indirectly gaining a benefit from any interest deductions that can be taken by the actual homeowner - and if their costs go up, it's a dead certainty that your rent will also rise.

Interest and taxes on rental property are deducted as costs of earning incoming from rent (on Schedule C), and are not part of the mortgage interest deduction being referred to on personal tax returns (Schedule A). The income tax on rental income is imposed on net income, not gross rent received.

The costs of interest and taxes do cause rents to increase but cannot be arbitrarily added in full to the rent without regard to the prevailing rental market prices and tenants' ability and willingness to pay. When costs become too high and cannot be collected in rent, the property is sold for some other purpose, leaving less options for tenants and constricting supply, along with generally higher rents than would otherwise be the case and due to distortions in the economy and general decrease in standard of living.

Redistribution to low income tenants is fed back into low income substandard rental housing at the expense of both normal renters and property owners. Low income government rent subsidies impose another big collection of problems on property owners ensnared in that artificial "market" because of government controls and the increased difficulty of getting rid of bad tenants and collecting rent. NJ, where Vespasiano lives, is one of the states that is particularly bad. Canada is notorious for being terrible. The feasibility of property owners reasonably renting property has declined dramatically in only a few decades. Obviously that also adversely impacts the choices and costs for responsible renters as a consequence. There is much more to this than the question of directly passing interest costs and taxes on to rent.

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The elimination of the itemized deduction for sales taxes wasn't arbitrary; it was eliminated by Congress (not initiated by the IRS) along with other, similar deductions (I think in the 1980s, not the 1970s) in exchange for lower income tax rates. The combination of lower rates and less deductions was promised to result in no net increase in taxes.

It is true that a tax on income already taxed is an unfair tax on a tax, but a tax on income not already taxed some other way is just as unfair unless you think you should be taxed because you have income. The tax on income spent on taxes is just another way to increase taxes through one artificial way of calculating them after another. The advantage of eliminating the sales tax deduction and other such deductions was supposed to have been that it simplified filling out tax forms by eliminating hours of tedious collection of receipts, which is also a tremendous burden on taxpayers, without increasing total taxes. It didn't work because Congress soon raised the rates again and did not restore the deduction. They always do that.

So now you have higher taxes without the "option" of wasting your time on shoe boxes full of receipts to keep them down. Meanwhile the sales taxes keep going up -- recently to 7% in NJ -- as taxes on taxes accumulate and the rates all go up. The accumulated methods of unfairness also increase, but much of that is not fundamental and serves as a distraction leading people to fight and resent each other rather than the government. It's pressure group warfare of the dog eat dog welfare state at its finest, pitting one group against another over taxes as well as spending. It keeps the dogs from noticing the kennel they are trapped in.

Thank-you for providing additional details with respect to the elimination fo the sales tax deduction. Your excellent comments notwithstanding, it remains my position that, when considered against the irrational and non-objective nature of U.S. tax law and practice generally, that "decision" -- and virtually all "decisions" relative to them -- are arbitrary in essence.

On another point -- I oppose unequivocally any form of taxation on income per se. Period.

Eliminating the mortgage deduction would in fact be a new tax they are not currently allowed to collect. If the IRS could collect it now it would be doing it. It cannot because the law does not allow it. The deduction is a law passed by Congress. The IRS (and more notoriously some state governments like Maine) "re-interpret" laws on their own to impose new taxes, but they do it by exploiting ambiguities; the IRS cannot on its own change basic deductions like the one for mortgages. That is why the proposal is for Congress to eliminate the deduction. A new tax imposed by Congress would be a new tax not currently authorized, not the closing of an unintended "loophole" or a "reinterpretation" by the IRS.

I do have a tendency to use "Congress" and "the IRS" interchangeably when discussing tax matters and am aware that this is not correct nor is it necessarily the best way to proceed. To clarify . . . when discussing tax law, I am referring to Congress. Again, with that slight modification I stand by my initial statement: the 16th Amendment grants Congress the power to impose taxes on any source and without limitation or objective qualification. Congress can do whatever it wishes in this regard and it usually does.

As a former homeowner, I have a certain degree As I see it, unlike the sales-tax deduction which had been available to all Americans, the mortgage interest deduction, available as it is to only a certain class of citizens, is as it has always been an arbitrary and unequal treatment of citizens under the "law". It is a further testament not only to the general irrationalism of the tax code in its present manifestation but to its essential immorality

Re-read this paragraph very closely. I am not advocating for increasing others' taxes or for the removal of the mortgage interest deduction within the current context. I am merely pointing out what is, for me, the true significance of that deduction as a marker of the overall rotten nature of U.S. tax law. As I see it, such deductions are directly on par with the numerous "exemptions" and "waivers" that have already begun to appear relative to the equally rotten ObamaCare legislation -- they are admissions that the underlying law itself is insupportable. Conversely, if the law were rationally considered, objectively defined and consistent with the principle of Individual Rights (and in the case of ObamaCare, dropped altogether) . . . such deductions would be unnecessary. They would be moot, and we would not be having this exchange.

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PS: If a law -- any law -- cannot be applied equally to all citizens without modification, exemption or exception, it is illegitimate.

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