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    8/25/2010
    Shown: In tight race, Feingold resorts to attacks – and pandering

    Russ Feingold has a reputation as a maverick who does things his own way, but the latest skirmish with GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson casts doubt on that reputation. In a battle over the mortgage interest deduction, Feingold and his surrogates sound like nothing more than average politicians engaged in predictable mud-slinging.

    First we had the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC):
    It’s official, extremist Ron Johnson has opened an assault on the Wisconsin middle class....

    According to WKOW, Johnson wouldn’t rule out doing away with home mortgage interest deductions, and said “If that means horse trading with reductions of certain deductions I’m willing to take a look at all of the options.” According to The Tax Foundation, in 2008 alone, nearly 30% of Wisconsin tax returns claimed the home mortgage interest deduction, with the average deduction totaling $8,739.
    Setting aside the fact that being willing to discuss the deduction is not the same as ending it, I can't help but wonder if the DSCC even read the information surrounding the statistics they cite. Not only did the Tax Foundation publish the figures cited above, they also called the mortgage interest deduction, "one of the largest and most sacrosanct loopholes in the tax code."

    Feingold himself made a similar argument: 
    The incumbent Dem U.S. senator said the deductions help the middle class and that the Oshkosh millionaire businessman would instead give tax breaks to the wealthy.

    “What he's most likely to do, of course, is to horse trade it, get rid of it for middle class people for lower taxes for people like himself,” he said in a follow-up with reporters afterward.
    The non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that in 2012 the mortgage interest deduction will decrease federal revenues by $131 billion. Keep that in mind the next time Democrats claim that revenue increases have to be part of our long-term budget solution.

    They also had this to say about just who benefits from the deduction:
    Most benefits go to high-income households that would probably buy a house with or without the deduction. Since non-itemizers get no benefit from the deduction, it is not surprising that most of the subsidy goes to upper-bracket taxpayers.
    Looking at these facts, I guess one could argue that Feingold is in favor of perpetuating tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit upper-bracket taxpayers. Unlike Russ Feingold and the DSCC, I think most Wisconsin voters are smart enough to see through these types of attacks.

    Ending the mortgage deduction would be a sea-change in our tax and housing policy in this country and should not be something that we approach lightly, but to suggest we not approach it at all seems like little more than pandering.

    Jeremy Shown blogs at Rhymes with Clown and frequently hits on politics and economics in Wisconsin and the U.S.




    COMMENTS

    There is an obvious strategy developing. It use to be Democrats kind of hinted that there Republican opponents were extremists . The Feingold campaign just comes out and says it every time they mention Ron Johnson.

    I'm still waiting for Feingold to explain who Elisabeth M. Acklaund is.

    fox cities news, appleton, wi
    Rohn W. Bishop (Wed Aug 25 06:41:15 2010)

    I'm really shocked at how Rusty Russ has veered off the political path into radicaltown. So far he's accused Ron Johnson of:

    - trying to drill for oil in the Great Lakes

    - being opposed to the 2nd Amendment

    - trying to end the mortgage deduction

    And I think there was something in there about priviatising Social Security as well, but I may be mistaken as that's a staple of liberal Democrat candidates.

    Ah..., nothing I like better than the smell of desperation in the morining! And I get a whif of victory from time to time too.

    fox cities news, appleton, wi
    Duke (Wed Aug 25 07:48:55 2010)




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