December 15, 2006

HousingPanic calls on Congress and Bush to repeal the big wet REIC kiss that caused the housing bubble - Sec. 121 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997

Being either incompetent boobs, or conniving thieves in the night, or both, when Congress and Clinton passed the "Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997", they caused the Great American Housing Ponzi Scheme to take off.


By allowing gains on home sales ($250,000 single, $500,000 couple) to go tax free.

Why work for a living when you could just flip houses? Why pay taxes when you could live a tax-free life?

Folks, this horrific and corrupt piece of legislation must be overturned, post haste.

Housing gain proceeds should be taxed like capital gains, which they are. And Congress should make this adjustment retroactive effective 1/1/06.

I'd love to see who came up with this big wet kiss originally, and what their REIC contributors looked like. Any HP sleuths are welcome to dig a bit and to report back.

People may hear this call and think I'm a big-tax liberal. I am not - I love low taxes. But what I hate is stupid or unfair tax policy, and Sec 121 of 1997 is the stupidest, most unfair piece of tax legislation written in the history of the United States. And now you are all paying the price, whether you know it or not. This piece of legislation is what crashed the American economy 2007 - 2010. Let's make sure it doesn't happen again.

If you agree with me, you can write your Congressman here.

When it passed Code Sec. 121 in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Congress greatly expanded the tax assistance afforded to individuals selling their homes. For instance, Code Sec. 121 now prescribes that an individual can exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 if a joint return is filed) on the sale of a primary residence if the homeowner owned and used the home for at least two out of five years preceding the date of sale. Code Sec. 121 provides that the exclusion applies regardless of the age of the taxpayer. Further, the full exclusion can only be used once every two years, and a taxpayer who fails to meet these requirements due to a change in place of employment, health or unforeseen circumstances is entitled to a reduced exclusion


foobeca said...

let's stop all the social engineering and favoritism altogether with the tax code and enact a flat tax. But that'll never happen since the tax code gives the corrupt politicians a lot of power.

Paul E. Math said...

Get rid of this and get rid of the deductibility of mortgage interest. I don't mind paying my landlord's mortgage. But I deeply resent that, as a renter, I pay a full tax-rate and support the mortgage of some 300k/yr guy's McMansion. It's wrong and it is like a regressive tax because it unfairly affects renters who, let's be honest here, occupy a disproportionate share of the lowest rung on the socio-economic ladder.

It's robbing from the poor to pay the rich.

Dave said...

To the contrary, I would expand a tax exemption to all asset classes to provide an offset for inflation.

The housing exemption would have no impact if other asset classes were not taxed on value increases due to inflation either.

The problem is that the government is so dishonest about inflation that use of the CPI or whatever the latest manipulated figure is would be useless.

So, we're screwed. But there's no reason to fret about the tax code because with so much government corruption we'd be screwed no matter what.

paul e. math does bring another issue in, however. No other investment class, even if inflation were deductible, would ALSO allow deduction of interest to speculate in that asset.

Generally in the tax code you can't double dip. You typically get a break on the input or output, but the tax man has a hand out somewhere.

With housing, income tax is avoided on the interest to cover inflation, approximately. Yet if the house is also sold with no tax collected....eureka!.....the income ends up never taxed.

It's a pure double dip.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind getting rid of the tax exemption, I would however be completely against making it retroactive. Selfish reasoning here since I sold my house this year, there is no way I could come up with the tax due. Since I sold and purchase again immediately with that money I made no provisions to pay the taxman since nothing was due, to expect people to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the IRS is ridiculous, and the flip side is that I don't think tax cuts should be retroactive either. Make tax cuts and exemption repeal to begin at a future date not in the past so people can plan.

keith said...

You're right, retroactive would be tough for people who've already gone out and blown the money

But 1/1/07 is a must

But of course, the corrupt bought-and-paid-for Congress will do nothing here and this loophole will continue on

David in JAX said...

I agree that all of these unfair tax breaks and deductions should be tossed. I agree we would be much better off with a flat tax and even better off with the Fair Tax Plan.

Anonymous said...


the reason they have these tax breaks is to encourage homeownership- you may disagree but many think that this helps the stability of the counntry as a whole long term,, and since savings rates are so low,, at least provvides some incentive for people to aquire a hard asset

and for the renters complaining- if the landlord has higher costs by less tax benefits- then YOU will pay more, a these higher costs will be passed on to you --

if you dont think the tax law should promote an ownership society, you are in the vast minority of the country, and dont expect to be elected to office, lol

Lisa said...

I am in agreement on the Fair Tax idea!

Anonymous said...

How about leave the tax break for primary residence but tax the crap out of all the a-holes with multiple properties?

keith said...

anon realtor said:

the reason they have these tax breaks is to encourage homeownership

HP says:

what this tax loophole did was encourage the opposite - home and condo flipping

If you want to encourage home OWNERSHIP then come up with policy that encourages homedebtors to pay down their damn debt so they can own their home

Man, realtors are dumb.

sixpercenter said...

What is much more absurd is the fact that interest payment on a $1M mortgage is deductible as well as up to $100,000 interest on a HELOC.

Do people buying a $1M house really need gov't assistance?

cool hand like said...

What!! People are getting away with keeping their money and not having to fork some over to the Federal Government!!! That’s insane!! I’m going to write my congressman about this right away! That’s like government assistance? You people are beyond hope. Disgusting!!

cool hand like said...

What!! People are getting away with keeping their money and not having to fork some over to the Federal Government!!! That’s insane!! I’m going to write my congressman about this right away! That’s like government assistance? You people are beyond hope. Disgusting!!

michael said...

i do not think it was the cause of the bubble.

maybe it helped fuel it but it is definately not the cause of it.

Anonymous said...


"man , realtors are dumb"

why is it every time someone disagrees with someone here you assume they are a realtor and need to insult them as such

Im an attorney, dolthead-= and you guys need to control your anger vs anyone who has a different view...

michael said...

anecdotal evidence follows:

i am a tax professional and have preapred returns for alot of people the past couple of years who were flipping houses and not one them qualified for the exclusion.

Anonymous said...

you guys really have a credibility problem by assuming everyone is a realtor if they disagree with you- its not rational and makes you look like crybabies

Anonymous said...


exactly, by definition you have to be primary owner and reside there for 2 years to get the exclusion..

that excludes flippers and landlords by definition

but be careful, they wont believe you , they are paranoid and call you a realtor (and ALL realtors are dumber then anyone here of course)

- anon attorney

(am signing out as attorney so they know im not a realtor)

Anonymous said...

"Im an attorney, dolthead"

man , attorney's are dumb

Anonymous said...

"Im an attorney, dolthead"

man , attorney's are dumb

Anonymous said...

In general I agree with you. But this is the sort of action that will make the housing bust worse.
All those people that borrowed against their home will now have to pay taxes if they sell. The added load of taxes could push more people into bancruptcy.
(Like in the 30's when they put trade tariffs in place and made the depression that much deeper)

I love you website and support most of what you are trying to do. You are a rallying point for people to address the bust that will come.
I think we need to start getting the message out on what should be done to ease the pain that will come.

Remember our objective to should be to fix the problem not glory in being right about it and be happy that people suffer. I know people are stupid and "should" pay for there mistakes, but if enough people have a problem their problems become our problems (an economic depression is likely to catch several of us in the net)


Anonymous said...

Personally, this is the one thing that the govt did right for the middle class homeowner and I am thankful. I lived in my home for 10 yrs and sold at the peak. Now I paid off my debts and am waiting to buy my next home.

From what I have read on these blogs a lot of you have benefitted from this. How can it be unfair when a LOT of citizens gained from such an exemption. I would rather see this extended than the so called tax cuts that this administration is flounting as good for ALL the citizens of this country.

The tax cut gained me $600 which was used to pay the increase in fuel costs lasted me a month and gave oil companies billions in profits. This tax exemption gained me enough funds to pay off my debts and put savings in the bank.

How many in this blog gained more than $600 from the tax cut and how many more gained from the tax exemption? Who really benefitted from these govt actions???

michael said...

also keith,

the old rules for sale of a personal residence allowed indefinate rollover of gain into the new residence.

effectively never paying taxes on the sale of a personal residence.

a "permanent temporary difference" as its called in the tax world.

the change from the old rules to the new law, although significant, is hardly enough to cause the largest asset bubble in history.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God! Clinton did something can't be!

keith said...

yeah, my bad

real estate lawyers are sure dumb

hope that helped

Anonymous said...

evidently everyone is dumb except all of you with blinders on rah rahing each other,,,

Anonymous said...

keith im not a real eatate lawyer--

and i GUESS 90% of the country is dumb who dont support you on this???????????

WELL, is 90% of the country who dont agree with you on this ARE WE ALL DUMB EXCEPT YOU GUYS?????

Anonymous said...


dont worry ,, they just think you are dumb cause you dont agree with them,, thats the answer on every thread on this board

all smart people must believe that ALL housing is gonna crash from here too,, because of their smart anecdotes about CA and AZ and other worse case areas

and the MAJORITY of economists who think the worst is over for most areas based on shrinking supply in most areas,, mortgage appplications for new purchases at 11 month HIGH, and new housing starts/ exisitng sales at the lowest its ever been since records are kept-- well THEY MUST ALL BE DUMB TOO

and of coursed theyll assume im VERY dumb and must be some realtor,, even though I traded markets institutionally for over 10 years succesfully by not listening to bear/bull crowds like this (looking at data trends instead)- well im so dumb to be retired with my house paid off,,--

but theyd rather follow the emotional bear crows who thinks the market is falling apart en masse and that narkets only go one way (down in this case)

just like any other retail who were panicking at dow 9,000 or absolutely elated at the peak of the internet boom,, these bears here who ignore any change in supply and demand as CANT be true or dead cat bounce are the same exact type of crowd...

but they wont see it,, or think that the opinioon of one who actually was very succesful in seeing market pyschology for a living can have any validity , cause thats just another dumb person not smart like this crowd...

Anonymous said...

Why don't you reds skip all this foreplay and go straight to the money shot? Lets tax all income, capital gains, and estates at a 100% rate and let those really smart guys in DC decide how much they will give back each month.

All you neo-Marxists need to remember something -- we live in an armed society and at some point there will be a revolt against federalism.

borkafatty said...

This week, in what I believe to be an unprecedented diplomatic pilgrimage, the sitting U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve were dispatched to China. Ostensibly they were sent to pressure the Chinese into allowing their currency to appreciate against the dollar. In reality, they were more likely sent there to do just the opposite.

Despite the hawkish public tone coming from Washington, the private dialogue was likely to have been far meeker. My guess is that Bernanke and Paulson kowtowed to America’s biggest supplier and largest lender, and pleaded for them to keep the goods and credit flowing. Although it didn’t take place in Macy’s window, the affair may qualify as the “mother of all butt kissings.”

The last thing that Paulson and Bernanke want is for the world to recognize the financial precipice upon which the U.S. economy now teeters, and China’s unique ability to push it over the edge.

It is absurd to imagine that they would actually demand that China revalue its currency. Think about what such a request actually implies. It means that Americans would pay higher prices for the goods they buy and higher interest rates on the money they borrow. Does anyone really believe that American politicians are in China to demand higher prices and higher interest rates for American consumers? Since such a combination would surely produce a sever case of stagflation, does anyone really believe that Greenspan and Bernanke went to China to demand that they push the U.S. economy into recession?

It is far more likely that they are there to persuade the Chinese to maintain the current currency peg so that Americans can continue to enjoy the artificially high standard of living that the massive subsidy provides. No doubt they will likely try to convince the Chinese that doing so is in their interest as well, though I am not sure just how much longer that dog will continue to hunt.

Once Chinese officials grasp the concept that the only thing standing between their citizens and much higher standards of living is the currency peg, they will abandon it completely. The result will be abundance in China and scarcity in the U.S. China will then be awash in credit and consumer goods while America will be devoid of both and awash in paper dollars.

Think about today’s unchanged reading on November CPI, or Wednesday’s 1% gain in November retail sales. What would happen to the CPI and retail sales if both prices and interest rates surged? The biggest factor boosting retail sales was the 6.5% gain in consumer electronics. Does anyone want to guess where most of that stuff was made, or how it was paid for? How many big screen TVs could Americans “afford” to buy on credit if both prices and interest rates went up by 25% or more? As usual, the media interpreted the recent retail sales figures as evidence of a strengthening U.S. economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Such sales merely reflect the strength of the economies that produced the goods in the first place, not the economy of the nation that went deeper into debt to consume them.

Ironically, during the very week that Paulson and Bernanke were trying to convince the Chinese to keep buying dollars, Alan Greenspan was making a good case why the rest of us should sell. The former Fed chairman, adding his voice to that of his predecessor Paul Volcker, predicted that the dollar’s recent slide would continue for years to come and cautioned that it would be foolish for anyone to keep all of their money in just one currency.

From my perspective it would be foolish for anyone to keep any money in U.S. dollars. If the Chinese come to their senses and pull all that American wool out of their eyes, then look out below.

borkafatty said...


buzz saw said...

Hey bork, did you write that? The Chinese don't care about the dollars, they want influence. Paulson probably went to collect Bush's payoff.

foxwoodlief said...

I don't think the law significantly influenced the bubble, cheap money did.

The only negative was maybe instead of the old rollover where you sold and moved up and put most of the equity back into the new house now people just run with the money? Of course I'm sure not everyone. I'm sure a lot ran with the money and paid cash for a house in other states or paid of debt and put a good down on a new home.

I still run into people who still think they can rollover their gains into a new house and didn't realize they qualify for the tax exemption.

And I agree with most of the posters who point out that flippers and landlords don't get that credit.

What is worse to me is not tax exemptions to the working class via home sales but tax breaks for the rich, for large companies exporting jobs, for WALMART to build box stores etc.

Anonymous said...

Keith, you truly are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I agree that was one of the few things the gov has done right. The exemption was not the cause of the bubble, it is the excessive amount of credit sloshing around.

To the idiot talking about double dipping via interest deductions, you are wrong. Investment interest is deductible to the extent of investment income.

Anonymous said...

Keef, hurry up, sell your gold. it's down. You'll get another chance to buy around $650.

Anonymous said...

Some good points,
but I would be totally shocked if this mess was caused by any single incedent (such as the tax-free appreciation law).

borkafatty said...

Silver @ $12.81 dont be a fool buy buy buy before the new year cause if the fed decides to lower interest rates the dollar is going down!...

Is having a nice sale on bars as we speak!!!! good time to get rid of some paper and on a friday..Merry christmas to me!

Paul E. Math said...

Never mind the slander.

Who benefits and who pays?

The middle class thinks it has benefitted until their children go to buy a home.

Who pays? The working class. Yeah, I actually give a s**t about the working class, even though I'm not one of them. Imagine that, someone who cares about someone other than himself.

Paul E. Math said...

Correction, thinking about it, I am working class. Anyone who needs to work is working class, that includes me. We all need to recognize that.

Anonymous said...

"There was no change in the rule that prohibits taxpayers from deducting losses on home sales. "

This is from the Act language. I'm guessing that as the bubble deflates, this language may be the first quiet casualty of a revision.

Anonymous said...

"To qualify, sellers must have owned and used the home as their principal residence for at least two of the last five years before the sale."

And who might I ask is monitoring this requirement? Is there a strict system of monitoring and regulation to make sure that no one lies about whether they've occupied the "home" for two of the previous five years? Is there some system for keeping track of whether Mr. Flipper has owned the property for five years? I'm not being sarcastic (this time), I don't know - maybe someone here in that business knows. Is there a check and balance or is this sort of like the "honor system candy box" at work that constantly runs a little short?


beebs said...

Get rid of all deductions. Move towards a consumption tax.


Anonymous said...

keith im not a real eatate lawyer--

and i GUESS 90% of the country is dumb who dont support you on this???????????

WELL, is 90% of the country who dont agree with you on this ARE WE ALL DUMB EXCEPT YOU GUYS?????

Friday, December 15, 2006 4:44:44 PM

Maybe, but I am a real live real estate lawyer and I agree with Keith on that tax change. Two other things I'd add are the change to credit scores and the Y2K pump - - almost entirely forgotten now as a silly fear. I can most assuredly tell you it wasn't silly then when you saw what the Fed, Fdic, Occ, etc. put the banks through. They didn't put 2 bullets in the head of that threat to the banking system -- they bombed it into the next century with liquidity.

Anonymous said...

Here's a less-known effect of the current tax system:

Suppose you bought 10 years ago for $1 million, and now sold for $2 million to buy a different house.

The first $500,000 gain is tax free (for a couple), but the next $500,000 is taxed as a capital gain. It doesn't matter what the price of the new house is.

Wonder if that is hurting the sale of move-up McMansions on the coasts?

AndyfromSimi said...

Why not just have a "flat tax" on all profit and income over the poverty line. That would be a fair tax.

We should also repeal the withholding of your money... Taxes are due on April 15th... Don't pay them then you go to jail until there paid.

Simple and fair!

As for the capital gains exclusion, I'd say, that it should be changed so you can only exclude it on your first house... that exlusion would be unlimited for eternity. As for the vacation home, that should be taxed just like any other investment. Let's get rid of the "starker exchange." This would really slow down transactions... causing a huge drop in the pocketbooks all those "no credentials just paper-only" real estate agent lurking around the country. Tell them to get a real job.

AndyfromSimi said...


Anonymous said...

I say tax people triple, who make any money outside of the U.S... Start will keith!!

Anonymous said...

to the anon who asked how is the two year rule monitored,

well its an IRS rule, and works like other decuctions or exclusions on your tax return- if its not a taxable sale the irs will take your word for it ,, but if your audited youll have to back up the exclusinon with proof teht it was your primary residenc (and not rented out for 2 of 5 years)- they can check phone bills, utility bills, banks statements etc,,to verify,, and of course if you were paying mortgage interest on a different property at the same time, they would know this...

panicearly said...

when people are only considering their minimum monthly payment when buying homes, giving them the mortgage interest deduction only ends up pushing prices up for the same sh!T instead of actually saving a few dollars.

this does not cause bubble but it actually does not help homeowners as prices increase inline with monthly affordability.

Also too this is not a tax deduction, or a tax reduction as in the above mentioned $600.

its is simply tax deferal, it will be paid in one form or another.
its smoke and mirrors when the nation is in such debt. Bush did not cut taxes, he took a loan out in your name, or put it on your credit card for you.
borrowed from the future because there was nothing to give to you sheeple from the present.

Anonymous said...

"Get rid of all deductions. Move towards a consumption tax."

Another FAIR tax advocate who can't see the forest for the trees. Here's how it works in the real world - when the government taxes something, anything, we end up with less of it. A consumption tax would necessarily reduce consumption.

Some think this would be wonderful, and in the long run I would agree that reducing consumerism is an admirable goal. But, 75% of our economy now depends on consumption spending. The FAIR tax would throw us into a deflationary spiral/depression and recovery might take a decade or more.

And do you really thing the federal government would completely eliminate the income tax? Hell no, we will end up with both.

Anonymous said...

Only idiots WANT to pay taxes.

How about this: Let's establish a two-tiered tax system depending on how you vote. Those who vote 'yes, tax me 'cause I'm stupid' pay a higher rate on everything - including capital gains - than those who vote 'no, let the idiots pay, not me'.

Chanuncy said...

So now the answer to everything is raise taxes. Did I just stumble into the Democratic Party web site?

Don't you right wing loons usually oppose taxation?

Anonymous said...

lots of people who are quite illeterate here


you're and your are different words

alot is not a word

there their and they're have different meanings

any time I read a post that says "your wrong" I know anything that person has to say is of no value. Learn to write then I may have an interest in what you have to say.

And no this is not about typos, it is about knowing proper grammar.

Anonymous said...

Illeterate? I hope that was a typo.

Anonymous said...

An example of two tax incentives currently available for Singles:

You sold your residence for $1.6 million and after paying off your loan plus all other fees ($1 million) you are left with $600,000.

Capital Gains Tax, depending on your income, is 5% or 15%. Since your gain is over $600,000 then your taxable income is probably above $72,000 per year giving you a marginal tax rate of 28% and a capital gains rate of 15%.

What this means is that instead of paying tax on $600,000 you subtract $250,000 (tax free gain) and you are left with $350,000 (taxable gain.) Also, instead of paying $98,000 (350,000 x 28%) in taxes you only have to pay $52,500 (350K x 15%). This way you save $45,500 in taxes.

If the entire $600,000 was taxed at your regular marginal rate, than you would have had to pay $168,000 in taxes (600K x 28 %.) Total tax savings: $168K – $52.5K = $115,500.

In the example above I showed two tax incentives that an individual ca use:
1) $250,000 (single) or $500,000 (married) gain that is tax free
2) Taxing Gains at “Capital Gain Tax Rates” instead of calling the gain your income for that year and taxing in at your regular marginal rate.

Anonymous said...

So true. that tax exemption was the catalyst for this mess.

And it was started by our own Repubbocrat or Democan, whatever you want to call him, Bill Clinton.

what an a$$.

Anonymous said...

As a homeowner, I agree the mortgage deduction is completely unfair.

I have never understood why we have it- outside of possibly making bankers richer, since peopple are so stupid they think they're getting some kind of deal by not paying off their mortgage.

It's a windfall for lenders, that's all.

Chauncy said...

So since you are all renters and it doesn't help you, you are opposed to this deduction. And it is unfait to subsidize people with a tax credit since it makes them buy more house than otherwise they could afford.

OK I am opposed to the following since they don't help me and unfairly helps people afford more than they otherwise could. Will you be calling for an end to all of these as well?

- state income tax deduction
(i live in a state with no income tax, why should I subsidize all you suckers in California or New York paying 10% in state income? You want to pay state taxes, go ahead, I'm not paying 25% of them for you.)

- child tax credit
(I'm not a parent why should I subsidize parents with a $1000 per kid gift every year?)

- student loan deduction
(I never got a student loan why should I have to subsidize poor students? Fuck em if they can't afford college, let them work at McDonald's)

-401(k) deduction
(I don't have a 401(k) why should I subsidize all of you who do? If you want to save money, fine, but I don't feel like giving you a 25% gift on it.)

- mileage duduction
(I don't drive for work, why should I subsidize those that do? Take the bus if you can't afford to drive without the deduction.)

- hybrid car tax credit
(I don't drive a hybrid, why should I subsidize those that do? You want to be green, go ahead, but why should I give you a $5K tax gift for buying a Prius?)

- self-employed health care deduction
(I'm not self employed, why should I subsidize the self employed. if you can't afford to be self employed without the deduction go work for someone)

- teacher expense deduction
(I'm not a teacher, why should I subsidize them)

- charitable deductions
(I'm not poor, I don't need charity, why should I subsidize it?)

- losses on investments
(I don't have any losses, why should I subsidize you losers who can't invest properly?)

Paul E. Math said...

Chauncy, I disagree with the way you have interpreted my grievance against this tax. I would not be particularly opposed to this tax if it gave lower income people a benefit and did not benefit rich people.

This tax hurts everyone who rents their home to the advantage of everyone who owns. Among home owners is a large group of people who are doing just fine and do not need this big tax break to help them live in an bigger house or to have granite countertops. Among renters is a large group who are low wealth and income.

Most of the tax breaks you list benefit noble causes (teachers, charities, students, the environment) while NOT benefitting the rich.

Do you see the difference here?

Chauncy said...


1. 69% of the US population owns a home and takes advantage of the tax break. Are you saying 69% of the population is rich?

2. The bottom 50% of income earners in the US pay 3% of all federal income taxes. That's not a typo, 3% is all the bottom 50% contributes. The poor pay no taxes. Don't give me this crap about the poor being hurt.

Paul E. Math said...


1. Among that 69% of the population who own homes are all the upper middle and upper class who do not need the tax break. This is my main beef with these provisions - they benefit the rich and upper middle class who need NO tax breaks.

2. You're helping me make my point that these tax breaks don't really benefit the poor. If they're not paying any taxes anyway then they aren't using these provisions, are they? So then who is getting the benefit out of these breaks? Sure, the middle class benefits but so do the upper middle and the rich who do NOT need it.

I don't mind paying for worthy, noble causes. This isn't one of them.

Chauncy said...

What do you consider upper class? How much income does one need to be considered upper class in your eyes?

AndyS said...

Come on, you aughta know better. You don't create another tax, you eliminate the Federal Reserve that's printing all the money that's being made flipping these houses.

Anonymous said...

take the $250K exemption away, but if you do that, I want annual expense deductions for depreciation, all expenses to be deducted, and if i lose money on my house, i want a capital loss.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Paul E. Math, the tax exemption is one of the larger causes for the speculation that is happening in residential real estate. I wouldn't call people that disagree stupid, perhaps ill informed, or can't see past the benefit they think they've received from this.

The way I see it there are 2 groups of people, those that like the exemption and the (the mortgage deduction) and those that don't.

The ones that think its a good idea have this kind of attitude, the whole tax system is f*cked up already, this is the one tax policy that helps me, why mess with it? You want more taxes? Are you crazy?

Theb the other camp that sees the economy as the giant system that it is and sees how goverment policy distorts natural economic behaviours. When you give everybody the same tax benefit, prices simply adjust upward to reflect the new subsidy. So everybody gets to pay a higher figure for their house, which is for the most part offset by the tax subsidy. The people that really benefit are the people that sell/build/finance houses.

Lets face it, a house is consumption, it isn't an investment. Treating like an investment draws money from real investments like businesses that actually create value from lower value inputs.

And giving a tax cut that isn't offset with a spending cut is just putting it on everyones credit card for the future to pay with interest to bankers foreign and domestic.

And the guy that said if you're going to do away with the housing tax cut you should get rid of (followed by long list of deductions) is absolutly right. Those things are just political window dressing, sure we need teachers, but we also need garbage men, so what?

I think a key idea that a lot of people miss is that, for every tax subsidy to one group, another group has to make up the difference, now or later with interest on top. A tax deduction for home owners is a tax increase for non-owners.

An sure its only supposed to help owners not flippers, like they're all honest on their taxes, like all the people financing their credit cards into their mortagages abide by the rules and shouldn't be deducting the interest on the money originally used to buy jet skis and a trailer.

And ya its bogus that you would have to pay capital gains on what is essentially inflation on you house, but the answer isn't more financial gaming, its less. Abolish the fed and go back to Newtons hard money idea. Printing more money is legalized counterfeiting, its sure enough steeling from everyone who already is using that money.

Of course if you ask lay people if they want to give up the subsidy they'll say no, its like asking a kid if he wants free candy. Most pepole don't see the forrest for the trees, they're so deep in the forrest all they see is leaves.

There were some people that made the comment that we're a consumer driver society so policy changes that removed the stimulus for consumption would cause a crash. This is like saying, if you remove the heroin from an addict he is going to be very sick. Yes its true, but its a step that must be taken to get clean and live a longer healthier life. The mistake was getting addicted in the first place, not cutting off the drugs.

Anonymous said...

Look at a graph of median prices in most RE markets from say the early 90's to today and you will notice that shortly after this abortion passed prices began to ramp up quite nicely. It's an awfully strong coincidence don't you think?

It's so tiring to have to explain over and over that the HB is not strictly a post 9/11 event. The building blocks were laid in 1997.

We've had to re-define our understanding of just what a flipper is? No, you don't have to be on TV or covered in roofing tar to be a flipper. On the contrary, just go to flippersintrouble and you'll see an immediate cause and effect as many of the listings are 2 years to the day after the purchase date. Hell, a lot of people even have a "two year plan".

Cheap money is a factor to be sure. Couldn't have happened to this degree without it! But in the end when there's a big tax bill due it sobers people up and slows the whole process down. Big Time!

To those of you that utterly fail to see the connection, I can't help you.