Shakespeare described the future tactics of our political leaders with the Weird Sisters' chant. In its never ending quest for something deceptively called fairness, members of the Washington gang of 535 plus one often speak of tax reform. They say they want to increase revenue by cutting taxes and blah, blah, blah.
They often speak of "eliminating loopholes" while doing their fairness dance. Sometimes they mention that one of those loopholes is deductible mortgage interest expense. What is missing from their discussion, at least in public, is that each exception to the tax code was put there to benefit the nation and/or the economy. There may be some obsolete items, but those are least likely to be significant revenue drains.
Then there's the mortgage deduction, useless to most skin of their teeth first time home buyers and to those who have paid down their mortgage debt. The banking industry loves the deduction, and one of their lobbyists, the NAR, also loves it. Without it, some buyers could not afford the same level of debt that they want to take on. Its cost to the government could be used much more effectively with another strategy to truly encourage home ownership.
The purpose of all tax code, either intended or unintended, is to control (influence if it makes you feel better) the behavior of the citizenry. The bankers have brainwashed the general population and most real estate professionals to believe that mortgage deductions encourage home ownership. Of course, they really mean that it encourages debt.
The fairness liars are hunting for revenue, not fairness. If they were interested in fairness or in encouraging home ownership, the mortgage debt interest deduction would be changed to a home ownership tax credit, able to be claimed regardless of whether or not one uses the standard deduction.
By offering a mortgage debt incentive, our government is incentivizing people without mortgage debt to sell and become renters. How does that encourage home ownership for anyone other than an investor? Fair is indeed foul.