Ax may fall on tax break for mortgages

The popular tax break for mortgage interest, once considered untouchable, is falling under the scrutiny of policymakers and economic experts seeking ways to close huge deficits.

Although Congress last year rejected the White House’s proposed cut to the amount wealthier taxpayers can deduct for home mortgage interest payments, the administration included it again in its 2010 budget — saying it could save $208 billion over the next decade.

Frankly, I think this is a good idea. If, IF, it is part of a comprehensive tax reform that eliminates income tax, AND eliminates all the other real estate market distorting subsidies. Of course, the plan is to add taxes, not eliminate or simplify.

And how can it “save” $208 billion? “Save” implies it’s the government’s money in the first place.