There are two days this year when millions of adults like you play pivotal roles as Americans. The first is April 15, when you pay your taxes. The second is November 6, when you vote for the people you want to spend them.
If you're like most of us, you’ll pick your candidates mainly by how much you like and trust them—their smiles, their voices, your sense of their integrity and capacity to lead. But policy issues also affect your choice. You’ll want to know where they stand on Iraq, terrorism, unemployment, Social Security, federal deficits. And on lots of social issues—involving housing, health care, education, marriage, and much more.
All of which means that you’d better remember April 15 when November 6 comes around. Why? Because our tax laws cut across all of American life. Except for the U.S. Constitution, they represent the most comprehensive expression of our government’s official values. What these laws tax or exempt, reward or ignore, crucially shape who we are as a nation and what we will become.
The McMansion Tax Break
The home mortgage interest deduction allows taxpayers to deduct interest on loans of up to $1 million to buy or build one or two personal residences.
Ask the Candidate:
Would you limit the tax break to one basic home? And would you focus the subsidy on qualified households who need the subsidy most?
Comments about Fox's Books:
About If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax:
John Fox's superb new book is timely and essential reading as a new President and Congress deliberate which tax laws are in the country's best interest for this century. Two myths sustain most relief or so-called incentive provisions--that they make the laws "fairer" or "promote economic growth." No one has written more persuasively than Fox why this rarely is true and why most taxpayers would be best served by a far simpler, broad-based, lower rate system guided by a single principle: People with equal dollar ability to pay taxes should pay the same amount, and people with greater dollar ability to pay should pay more."
Mortimer M. Caplin, U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue under John F. Kennedy, Professor Emeritus,University of Virginia School of Law.
About John O. Fox
John O. Fox spent 36 years wrestling with the tax laws as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the highly praised book If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax (Westview, 2001). Mr. Fox has commented frequently about tax issues on radio and television, and his articles on what’s right and wrong with the U.S. revenue system have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and many other newspapers. For over 25 years, he taught "Winners and Losers," a course on U.S. tax policy at Mount Holyoke College.