Deficit Commission Weighs Dropping Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage-interest deduction and other sacrosanct tax breaks are on the deficit commission's table as it works toward its deadline of providing a set of recommendations on balancing the budget by 2015.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that hugely popular tax breaks are part of the commission's consideration since they add up to about $1 trillion in potential government revenue.

Besides the mortgage-interest deductions, the newspaper reports that the child tax credits and pre-tax spending by employers for health insurance could also be killed.

Commission officials are expected to look at preserving these breaks but at lower levels, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The 18-member panel has until Dec. 1 to come up with a list of items that would then be sent to Congress for a vote. But since lobbyists and special interests often are working to prevent hikes on their favored tax breaks, none of the targeted tax increases may be realized.

With the commission already facing a backlash against any changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the commission's recommendations could result in an empty exercise.

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