“Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.” – Oliver Goldsmith
Rep. Tom Reed reportedly sees many “problem solvers” within New York’s newly-elected GOP House delegation. “Problem solvers” are committed to bipartisan cooperation. What will Rep. Reed and his Republican colleagues do–unite with the far right, reward large contributors for their support, or take a moderate bipartisan course?
The home mortgage deduction may provide an opportunity to check. Tom has not publicly taken a clear position on it. Wealthy members of Congress benefit directly. Realtors support it, but although Republican orthodoxy generally favors tax simplification, some on the far right are unwilling to embrace repeal of deductions in exchange for a tax rate cut they fear would be ephemeral.
Realtor advertising says Tom favors preserving the home mortgage tax deduction which as a tax reformer he might be expected to oppose. However, the Ryan budget, which Tom Reed supported, would have repealed it in return for lower tax rates. Tom, on conservative principle, ought to favor low rates without deductions. If Paul Ryan continues to oppose it, Reed will face a dilemma–to double cross the Realtors or buck the GOP leadership. Most likely the GOP will back off–Ryan has already softened his position–and Reed will support the deduction as he promised.
“This longstanding tradition is something that if we move away from we should do it very carefully,” he (Reed) said. “And we should do it in a very well-thought-out manner.” Who knows what he meant by that?
The mortgage-interest deduction, with an estimated cost of $72 billion in forgone revenue in 2014, is one of the largest tax breaks in the Internal Revenue Code and the subject of a real-estate industry lobbying campaign to protect it.
Most likely Tom will give self-interest and Realtor interests priority.
© William Hungerford – November 2014