Supporters of the mortgage interest deduction say it encourages homeownership and gives the middle class a better shot at financial security. Critics say the deduction mainly benefits those with higher incomes and does nothing to help lower-income Americans who rent.
John C. Weicher, director of the Center for Housing and Financial Markets at the Hudson Institute, and Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution debate the issue in the Wall Street Journal.
Homeowners in the U.S. last year received a total of roughly $70 billion in federal tax breaks through the deduction. But discussions in Congress about a broad tax overhaul are heating up, and all sorts of tax deductions — including the mortgage-interest deduction — are being discussed by both parties.