Curtailing the Economic Distortions of the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Many Americans consider the mortgage interest deduction a necessary fixture of the American tax system. In this Article, Mathias examines the economic underpinnings of the deduction and finds that it cannot be justified on purely economic grounds. He then evaluates the major policy arguments for the mortgage interest deduction and concludes that it is inefficient, inequitable, and too costly in its present form to be justified on policy grounds. Finally, the author advocates for the elimination or substantial reduction in the size and scope of the mortgage interest deduction.