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  •  Hard to break the cycle without breaking... (10+ / 0-)

    ...the fetishization of home ownership.  But nobody's been willing to do that, even to the modest extent of following Dean Baker's awesome 2008 plan for stopping the clock on underwater mortgages and turning debtors into at least temporary renters.  This was the most reasonable and everyone-friendly thing in the world, but it got nowhere because our society--and not just the banks--favors a non-functional ownership model over a functional mixed model.

    APSCU is the trade group of diploma mills that rip off students and the government.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 04:47:27 AM PST

    •  fetishization....srsly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anna M, Rich in PA

      why should homeowners get a tax break on mortgage interest?  

      Judging from picturebooks, apparently Heaven is a partly cloudy place. - Rilo Kiley

      by Cedwyn on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 06:20:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tax breaks are made (ideally) to foster (4+ / 0-)

        those things that build stable communities and cities. A city might give a tax break to Sprint to move part of its operations to the city, and ensure an employed workforce.

        Home ownership gives people a tangible stake in the communities they live in, which is going to be greater than a renter who can move away at any time without as much financial loss. So, tax breaks are an incentive to get people to settle down and buy a house.

        There isn't anything wrong with wanting to own a home. The problem isn't tax breaks on mortgages. The problem is that every financial guru and her sister waged a campaign to get people to think of houses as investments that could be "flipped" for big profits. There were freaking shows about it on HGTV, showing upscale couples updating a house and raking in thousands on the sale. Lots of granite counter tops got sold.

        "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

        by Reepicheep on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 08:52:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Most don't. (4+ / 0-)

        Of the 130 million Americans who filed a tax return in 2002, only 36 million claimed (PDF) the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

        The MID is also geographically disproportionate.  The high priced coasts have higher participation rates, and the low priced "flyover country" have lower participation rates.

        Because you have to itemize to take the deduction, single filers paying 6% interest on an $80,000 house get no benefit.  Joint filers paying 6% interest on a $160,000 house get no benefit.  When the Median housing price for cities like Indianapolis is below $150,000, you have very large populations who are outright ineligble for the MID.

        It's bad policy.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 09:31:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on what they goal is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, damfino
        If you want to save communities and restore them to what they were before, you might have to think outside the box.

        If you are willing to hold out for everything you are legally entitled to, even though it means destroying much of the world and putting it into a Dark Age that will last a millennium, I don't think you should have that right.

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