It looks like the realtors are pulling out all the stops to preserve all the favors they get from the US taxpayer. In addition to their lame Home Ownership Matters campaign they are now in full attack mode with a proposal for a new Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative - basically a $40 annual increase in the dues that realtors have to pay in order to bring their total political advocacy funds up to $80 MM. The immediate target is to preserve the mortgage interest deduction but they are also quaking in their boots about the inevitable termination of life support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the last week I must have gotten at least 5 emails from the Chicago, Illinois, and National Associations of Realtors asking me to sign petitions and beg my representatives to keep subsidizing coffered ceilings and granite countertops.
Give me a break! It's not like the additional $40 is going to break me but survival? Isn't that a bit dramatic? Not to mention the intentionally misleading satistics they feed the media. For instance, in a recent letter to the Chicago Tribune Lawrence Yun, the head of propaganda chief economist for the NAR, argued that homeowners pay 80 - 90% of the federal income taxes and this is not a good time to raise their taxes by effectively $3050 per household. Of course, he fails to acknowledge that taxes are a zero sum game. Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would keep overall tax rates lower and shift a significant tax burdern away from renters. And by the NAR's own statistics the renters, who are subsidizing the home owners, are much poorer than the home owners on average.
The fact of the matter is that Canada does not have a mortgage interest deduction and Canadian homeownership levels are virtually identical to the US. If renters continue to subsidize home owners what's next? Subsidies for ethanol? Dairy price supports? A government railroad?