In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Did U.S. Tax Policy Contribute to the Housing Bubble?
Question: How much does (did) federal tax policy contribute to the housing bubble? If it was a contributing factor, how should that policy be reformed?
Paul Solman: Not much, I wouldn't think. Tax deductibility of mortgage interest has been around since the advent of the income tax itself, early in the 20th century. It predates the bubble by almost a century.