Once again, Post writers are directionally challenged when assigning costs associated with taxes. The Nov. 29 front-page article “Mortgage tax break may lose ‘untouchable’ status” postulates that the mortgage interest deduction — “which costs the government roughly $100 billion a year” — is at risk. While it may be at risk, it is absurd to believe that it costs the government anything. This backward thinking is far too pervasive amid today’s tax-or-not-to-tax discord.
Claiming that the deduction costs the government is like claiming that it costs the government not to tax us every time we brush our teeth. I don’t mean for the tube of paste, the brush, the water and the wastewater, all of which we are taxed on already. I mean the act of brushing itself. I suppose you could refer to this as an opportunity cost.