Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Defending the President

Nominally conservative/libertarian Reason writer Steve Chapman gives a rundown of Obama's accomplishments as President:
"... by any objective standard, Obama has plenty of achievements. He approved a daring raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He's on his way to ending the Iraq war. He brought about a health insurance overhaul aimed at fulfilling the Democratic dream of universal coverage.
He saved General Motors and Chrysler and the jobs they provide. He scrapped the military's policy against gays. He put new regulations on financial institutions and the credit card industry.
He signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. He launched a major initiative to promote innovation in schools, winning praise even from conservatives. He stopped the use of torture against suspected terrorists.
Love it or hate it, this is not the record of a dithering dunce or a confused wimp. It's all in keeping with the vision Obama offered during the 2008 campaign. It's all historically significant. None of it was preordained."
All this in an article with the headline "Why Obama Looks So Bad"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time to drop the mortgage interest deduction

REALTORs and mortgage folks will hate me for this, but this article (Reason writer Anthony Randazzo) gets some facts straight, about the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Dare I say, it is time to get rid of it? As a realist and a supporter of the Simpson/Bowles framework, this is a break I'd be willing to give up to help balance the budget:

"When considering the actual tax savings of the mortgage interest deduction, the benefits to the middle class become even more meager. The average tax savings for households with income between $40,000 and $75,000 is just $152 a year. That's $12.66 a month. Compare that to the highest earners, those making $200,000 or more, who see an average of $1,862 a year off their tax bills because of the MID benefit."