WASHINGTON -- Ending tax breaks for oil, corporate jets and hedge fund managers is nearly every Democrat's favorite way to reduce the federal debt. But one of the biggest tax breaks of all is the mortgage interest deduction, and its benefits are heavily concentrated in a handful of pricey cities, none of which votes Republican.
As Congress' new deficit-reduction committee sets about finding another $1.5 trillion to trim by Thanksgiving, tax breaks of all kinds, including the interest deduction, are getting new scrutiny. Beloved by the public and the real estate industry, the deduction will cost the government more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
But few homeowners, even those claiming the deduction, know how skewed it is by region and by income.