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Some defenders of the deduction claim that it promotes the American tradition of homeownership. But studies suggest that it probably has close to no effect on the homeownership rate, because nearly all of the gains go to affluent taxpayers who are likely to own homes even without it, though the deduction does enable them to buy bigger houses than they might have otherwise.

I wasn't defending home mortgage tax deductions, simply pointing out that such deductions did target certain behaviors. People can choose to argue about whether that deduction actually works . . . about whether there is any real value to more inclusive home ownership . . . etc. But the point of the previous post is that even if we all agreed on the value or lack of the home mortgage deduction, if we can't get our Representatives to make that part of the tax code what we want, why would we think they were going to create an all new tax code from scratch that would be better?

I would add that I am very skeptical of claims that the home mortgage deduction has no impact on home ownership. To claim that the mortgage deduction does not impact home ownership requires you to believe that no significant number of people can do the math. In the absence of the deduction, either home ownership would decline, home values would decline, some combination of both, or all people in the country are too stupid to do the math. For most people who can afford to consider owning a home, the mortgage deduction is a very significant factor in computing the total cost.
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