Connie Mack on Mortgage Deductions and Borrowing Forever
Deborah Solomon of the New York Times interviews former Senator Connie Mack on tax reform:
Q: Can you tell us about the report the tax-reform panel will be filing on Nov. 1? It’s been reported that you’re hoping to reduce some popular tax breaks, including the deduction for home mortgage interest from a $1 million cap to somewhere in the $300,000 range. Are you worried that could hurt the middle class and discourage people from buying, say, a $500,000 house?
A: It depends on how you define middle class. I don’t think that there would be a large percentage of middle-income families that would have a $500,000 house.
Just as I was to scream come out to my neighborhood (Los Angeles), Ms. Solomon does this for me. The Senator comes back with the notion that President Bush wants to cut taxes – and this is where the interview really turned south:
Q: Well, the U.S. government has to get money from somewhere. As a two-term former Republican senator fromFlorida, where do you suggest we get money from?
A: What money?
Q: The money to run this country.
A: We’ll borrow it.
Q: I never understand where all this money comes from. When the president says we need another $200 billion for Katrina repairs, does he just go and borrow it from the Saudis?
A: In a sense, we do. Maybe the Chinese.
Q: Is that fair to our children? If we keep borrowing at this level, won’t the Arabs or the Chinese eventually own this country?
A: I am not worried about that. We are a huge country producing enormous assets day in and day out. We have great strength, and we have always adjusted to difficulties that faced us, and we will continue to do so.
Did I mention that the former Senator is a Republican who was picked to head the tax reform commission?
Update: Kevin Drum covers this as well and one of his readers noted the same transcript problem cited by MJ.