one tax change that should be made — and certainly won’t be

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attempting comprehensive tax reform is like trying to tug many bones from the clamped jaws of many mastiffs. every provision of the code — now approaching 4 million words — was put there to placate a clamorous faction, or to create a grateful group that will fund its congressional defenders. still, washington will take another stab at comprehensiveness, undeterred by the misadventures of comprehensive immigration and health-care reforms. consider just one tax change that should be made and certainly will not be. the deductibility of mortgage interest payments, by which the government will forgo collecting nearly $1 trillion in the next decade, is treated as a categorical imperative graven on the heart of humanity by the finger of god because it is a pleasure enjoyed primarily by the wealthy. about 75 percent of american earners pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes, and only around 30 percent of taxpayers itemize their deductions. ike brannon, of the cato institute and capital policy analytics in washington, argues that, given america’s homeownership rate of about 63 percent, not even half of all homeowners use the deduction. its principal beneficiaries are afflu......

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