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The federal government devotes over a trillion dollars each year to tax provisions that pursue "nontax" goals, such as the deduction for mortgage interest and the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance. Scaling back these "tax expenditures" should be a high priority, as many have urged. Yet too often, the same limit is suggested for a broad range of tax expenditures. In the 2013 budget deal, for instance, Congress revived a single limit on all itemized deductions called the "Pease rule." In 2012, both presidential candidates proposed their own one-size-fits-all limit. In the same year, the United Kingdom imposed a single cap on all personal deductions. Likewise, the Bowles-Simpson Commission, Martin Feldstein, Edward Kleinbard, and other distinguished commentators have each recommended their own version of uniform treatment.


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