There are broader approaches, too. In its proposed budget, the Obama administration plans to focus on top earners. The administration suggests capping deductions at 28 percent for high-income households, those earning more than $250,000.
Under the current rules, a high-earning household deducting $20,000 in interest payments would probably apply a 35 percent rate to that amount and receive $7,000 in tax savings. The Obama budget aims to limit that tax saving by capping that rate at 28 percent. If that rate were applied to $20,000 of interest payments, the saving would fall to $5,800.
The United States would capture the difference. Over the next 10 years, that 28 percent cap could increase tax revenue by $584 billion, according to the Treasury Department.
While many economists have openly opposed the mortgage interest deduction for some time, few politicians have been willing to do so for fears of their constituents. However, recent statements from both sides of the aisle indicate that even this deduction may be on the table in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.