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The Charles Evans Gerber Transactional Studies Center


Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy


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.1 Scaling back these "tax expenditures" 2 should be a high priority, as many have urged.3 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."'4 In 2012, both presidential candidates proposed their own one-size-fits-all limit.5 In the same year, the United Kingdom imposed a single cap on all personal deductions. 6 Likewise, the Bowles-Simpson Commission, 7 Martin Feldstein, 8 Edward Kleinbard, 9 and other distinguished commentators have each recommended their own version of uniform treatment.10

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