McClatchy asks a stunning question:

Did the debt deal put mortgage-interest deduction in play?

The chart nearby lays out some possibilities.

McClatchy notes:

“The mortgage interest deduction, which allows 35 million homeowners to write off their mortgage interest payments, may be in for serious restructuring if ongoing efforts to pare the bulging federal debt are broadened.

As part of the just-concluded debt ceiling debate, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six” proposed lowering the limit on mortgages eligible for the deduction from $1 million to $500,000 and restricting the tax break only to primary residences.

But as it has through decades of federal budget cuts and crises, the popular provision emerged unscathed in the debt-limit compromise that President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday. That reprieve, however, may not last.

What do you think? Is this a possible election issue? Does anyone wnat to run on eliminating the mortgage deduction?

Discuss . . .

Category: Economy, Markets, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

54 Responses to “Open Thread: Is the Mortgage-Interest Deduction in Play?”

  1. flyr1710 says:

    this would just be an additional drag on housing. i think it will be in play but not for this cycle; maybe 2016 or 2020

  2. philipat says:

    In theory, eliminating ALL deductions and commensurately lowering rates would allow for greater efficiencies. People would be able to complete their own tax return, a one page form, millions of tax accountants (Middle men?) would be squeezed out and the IRS could be disbanded (Well, at least substantially downsized). Indeed for the vast majority with income generated only from an employer and investments only via a 401K, there would be no need for the vast majority even to submit and Income Tax return?

    Now, Corporations………………………………………………………..??

  3. Sechel says:

    I’m pro flat-tax. End it all and Gov’t encouraged Mal-investment goes away too.

  4. inthewoods says:

    No one will run on it – they might want to have it considered, but talk about an issue that will raise the wraith of the electorate. And not just getting rid of the tax deduction either – if you take away the tax advantage of owning a home, it seems to me that a bad housing market would trashed further. Obviously the devil is in the details of any proposal, but I can’t see it being anything but another dagger in the housing market.

  5. Bob A says:

    Bottom line…if Obama comes out for it Republicans will be against it.

    He oughta just come out to end all taxes on the rich and next thing you know they’d all be telling us why taxes are good.

  6. buddhabucks says:

    The cost of owning a home would go up. Which means the prices would drop. Not very good timing for this (probably good) change eventually. So many other ways to raise taxes. I’m sure most readers are aware that we are reaching the potential for peak “everything” and the rate population continues to grow it will have to happen at some time. Why not eliminate the dependent deduction? It may influence family size. America is the most resource intensive place in the world to raise a child. It also strains our education system with no added school taxes per increased children, not to mention how much driving soccer mom’s et. al. do. Lead balloon ?

  7. It takes courage for a politician to ask people to face reality.

    This is an absurd deduction that should not exist. But taking away is very difficult. Just look at the (temporary) Bush tax cuts. Can’t even get those rescinded. No one has the courage to tackle this (and many other) tax avoidance laws.

    Our taxes are just too low right now.

  8. MikeG says:

    Alternative Minimum Tax on corporate profits.
    If it’s good enough for individuals, it’s good enough for GE, Boeing, Halliburton, etc.

  9. wunsacon says:

    >> eliminating ALL deductions and commensurately lowering rates would allow for greater efficiencies.

    This is a right-wing goal: persuade us to keep lowering rates in search of “efficiencies”. Last decade’s lost tax revenue from loopholes become next decade’s lost tax revenue from lower rates.

    >> People would be able to complete their own tax return,

    Not a material issue. Ever use an online tax preparation tool? Really simple. In addition, these days accountants charge a pittance for personal filers.

    Agree, Bob A, buddha, Mark.

    inthewoods, who knows? Some Republicans are running with a campaign promise to cut taxes further. Anything is possible…

  10. ashpelham2 says:

    Ugggghhh…. are we really having another tax deduction/rate discussion here? We are in a quagmire in this country. No side of the political aisle will take any risk that threatens the party or their elected position. It’s the largest void of leadership we’ve ever had. NO voter believes that the vote he casts will really bring about a change or improvement, because these boobs keep coming up with hair brained ideas like dropping one of most people’s single largest deductions, directly affecting the strength of a crippled housing market.

    More manipulations to dance around the biggest issues we have. Americans have too much mortgage and personal debt, and the debt is losing value in a time when other costs are rising. Government is powerless at this point.

  11. wally says:

    “If it’s good enough for individuals, it’s good enough for GE, Boeing, Halliburton, etc.”

    Exactly… Corporations are people, my friend.

  12. AnthonyBreen says:

    Isn’t there a fairly easy way around this if it were eliminated. Simply create a LP/LLC to buy the property and then pay rent to yourself via the LP/LLC. The interest expense to the LP/LLC is tax deductible. Is that plausible?

    I assume that this is not currently a popular move for home purchase due to overhead involved, and the fact that the home would not qualify for owner-occupied financing and other owner-occupied insurance and property tax advantages.

  13. wunsacon says:

    What’s absurd is that corporations pay the same (or less) taxes than partnerships even though they eviscerate the concept of personal liability and hence personal responsibility. They are vehicles for the worst conniving bastards to legally prey on everyone else. They should pay more taxes than partnerships. Or we should simply eliminate the concept of limited liability for managing partners altogether and return to using limited partnerships more widely again. Eliminating the corporate form would also quickly cut the Citizens United Gordian Knot.

  14. super_trooper says:

    These types of articles are frustrating to read. Non-investigative journalism (fluff).
    Why not assess the difference between our current system and one that “lowers the limit on mortgages eligible deduction from $1 million to $500,000 and restricting the tax break only to primary residences.”?
    - Currently 35 million homeowners write off their mortgage interest payments. How many would be affected? And to what degree?
    - The plots could have been from 2009 and what it would look like in 2013 for example.
    - Is this something that predominantly affectes the über-rich ?
    - How many get tax breaks on multiple homes? (wouldn’t they just bundle the loans into one at $500k for the primary home, if possible). ….. etc

  15. bocon007 says:

    Philipat: Hey, you know what would be even more efficient than dropping the mortgage tax deduction? Just dropping all forms of taxation all together. Then and only then will we reach a perfect state of efficiency. Unlimited growth as far as the eye can see and beyond! Sort of like a perpetual motion machine solving our dependence on fossil fuels, but without the poorly written Popular Mechanics articles and junk science.

    If they drop the mortgage tax deduction before increasing income tax on the top 10% of earners, I’ll mail my lender the keys. And I’m not even behind on my payments.

  16. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    To quote Russell Long, who was a Senator for almost four decades: All tax policy is based on the philosophy of “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind that tree.” Little has changed in the three-plus decades since he retired.

  17. smedleyb says:

    Over the long term, I have no qualms with eliminating the tax break. The move forces future home buyers to focus on overall debt load rather than “carrying costs.” Enough with financing debt; pay it off and move on, or default and move on. The beauty of this move is it resets the market lower — much lower in some still frothy markets — and allows us to approach a bottom in residential housing much quicker.

    On the other hand, I question the sanity of delivering another blow to the American consumer (‘there goes another 10% of my home equity and a a couple hundred bucks a month”) at such a critical time in the recovery. What about all those families in the neighborhoods and burbs of Philadelphia and Tampa Bay that are stuck with 400k mortgages? That’s thousands of dollars out of their pockets, and they are very finicky voters.

    It’s economic and political suicide.

  18. avicere says:

    The mortgage interest deduction probably induced more bad behaviour in inflating the housing bubble at the high end than just about anything else (is it really true that a large enough boat (yacht) could be considered a second home and thus also eligible for the mortgage interest deduction??). It encouraged the rolling over of debt, HELOC’s and never any serious paydowns. Its seems reasonable that a soon to be retiree should be encouraged to be debt free yet many retirees continue to have debt clinging to the tax deduction and savings. Living in Canada, we don’t have such a deduction available to us and neither does te U.K. or Australia yet the level of home ownership is very similar. I say get rid of the deduction over 3-5 years or cap it at a reasonable level of say $5,000 to $10,000 max.

  19. Jojo says:

    I’m for removing this deduction. Let’s take the first steps to getting the government out of social engineering. Canada & Australia, among other countries, don’t have this deduction yet have the same percentage of home ownership as the USA does.

    A couple of past articles on the subject:
    Bloomberg View
    June 30, 2011


    Forty-nine percent of respondents in a Bloomberg National Poll said they were willing to give up the ability to deduct mortgage interest from their personal income taxes if it meant lower overall tax rates. Only 45 percent opposed the switch. That’s a sharp contrast with polling patterns of prior years, when the public showed 2-to-1 support for keeping the mortgage deduction. This change in sentiment creates a rare opportunity to fix a tax policy mistake that the American public and its political representatives have defended tirelessly.

    The case against the deduction is strong. It is costing the U.S. Treasury $104.5 billion this year. It showers most of its benefits on wealthy people in high tax brackets who were going to buy homes anyway, while offering too little for strivers in the lowest tax brackets.

    Worst of all, this tax break makes taking on unsustainable levels of personal debt too attractive.

    November 12, 2010
    Taking Aim at the Mortgage Tax Break

    By proposing to curtail the tax deduction for mortgage interest, the president’s deficit commission is sounding an alarm.

    The home mortgage deduction is one of the most widely used and expensive tax subsidies. More than 35 million Americans claim it, and the federal government estimates it will cost the Treasury $131 billion in forgone revenue in 2012. Its size, popularity and link to the emotionally charged American notion of homeownership has made it so politically sacrosanct that there are serious doubts whether Congress will even entertain the idea.

    But by raising the specter of ending one of the most cherished tax breaks, the commission is trying to jar the public into recognizing the magnitude of the nation’s budget deficit and some of the drastic steps that might be needed to close it.

    Because the mortgage interest is one of a limited number of tax breaks available to middle-income Americans, the commission’s proposal has also rekindled a debate about how much of the pain of deficit reduction should be borne by the middle class.

  20. Ridge Runner says:

    This deduction is becoming more vulnerable because an increasing number of homeowners, and most prospective first time homeowners, get little or no benefit from it. Here is a good dissection of the claims for the benefit and the effect of eliminating it (e.g., the downward pressure on prices is not severe), and a review of “who benefits” now:

    Note that one does not have to agree with this article’s policy prescriptions to take note of the actual distribution of the benefit.

    A legislated phaseout of the benefit over the same period as CBO estimates are usually run (ten years), mildly front-loaded, might have a better chance of success than an outright elimination. The phaseout could be a combination of reducing the maximum outstanding balance to which the deduction applied, and reducing the percent of interest paid on that balance which could be taken as a deduction. Also on the chopping block should be the deduction for property tax (eliminating the subsidy of high taxing property districts). That would be less likely to succeed, given the broader set of beneficiaries in high tax states (basically all home owning households that itemize).

    Hypothetical Phaseout

    Percent of
    Year Mtg Interest
    2011 100%
    2012 77.6%
    2013 59.7%
    2014 45.3%
    2015 33.9%
    2016 24.7%
    2017 17.3%
    2018 11.5%
    2019 6.8%
    2020 3.0%
    2021 0.0%

    From the above analysis:

    “If the mortgage interest deduction were driving people to buy homes we would expect to see some correlation between homeownership rates and the use of the deduction, but we don’t. The total mortgage interest deduction subsidy has grown from roughly $50 billion to $80 billion since 1994 with little impact on homeownership.”

    “This is because those households that rent but would prefer to own a home—if they had just a bit more financial flexibility—are typically low-income families. And if they bought a home they would be much less likely to itemize their deductions and claim the MID because they are low-income in the first place. As a result, rather than increasing the homeownership rate, the primary impact of the MID is to increase the amount spent on housing by consumers who would likely choose to own a home anyway, subsidizing spending on housing rather than homeownership.”

  21. Rouleur says:

    …i am in the same home that i built 25+ years ago…i no longer qualify for the home mortgage interest deduction…so, for me, it is irrelevant…in that context, do i want someone else to get a tax break for owning a home…hmm…given the situation we are in, i don’t really know, since too many people are already in over their heads, but, the fact that i had the break, could/should i be against the current generation getting the break – not really, but,…second home, not so much…although, i would like to own one…but, would prefer to not go into debt to own number 2…debt junkies…you do understand that you are feeding the beast, no?

  22. cgb22 says:

    This needs to be carefully carefully studied. There are real economic impacts that junking the mortgage deduction would have. And these need to be understood.

  23. Winston Munn says:

    Why not a gambling tax on investment banks based on a negative correlation to leverage?

  24. JT23456 says:

    “Alternative Minimum Tax on corporate profits” YES YES YES

  25. mersault says:

    I’m with Jojo, we shouldn’t create tax breaks for social engineering. I’m single, rent, have no children and I get hosed. The government shouldn’t penalize me for my life decisions.

    Give me equal rate and I’ll spend 100% of that windfall the same day. You’d be lucky to get 50% spend rate on a tax cut for someone who owns a home and has three kids.

  26. p_merasault says:

    I’m with Jojo, we shouldn’t create tax breaks for social engineering. I’m single, rent, have no children and I get hosed. The government shouldn’t penalize me for my life decisions. Rescind them all.

  27. Lyle says:

    Assume the modified limits are in place, prices of vacation places plummet as they are no longer eligible for the deduction. Secondly the coasts suffer relative to the center of the country. Indianapolis for example has a median house price of 164k and its less in smaller towns in IN. Even 500 k would buy quite a house there. Now on the coasts it would not buy very much. Note the state wide median in IN is 137k. So right now the center of the country subidizes the coast on the mortgage interest deduction. Consider at the 140k point and 5% you only have 7k of interest to begin with so not a big deal.

  28. Lyle says:

    Correction to the last the 2010 median price in Indianapolis is listed as $108k which makes the point even stronger, implying 5k of interest at this time on a median price home.

  29. constantnormal says:

    If this does happen, it will not be passed, or even openly discussed, until after the 2012 elections, and even then, it will only happen by riding a tsunami of fear, via some engineered calamity, likely in the wake of a near-complete societal collapse.

    But dividends and capital gains tax rates are safe, and will likely be lowered even further.

    Cynical, yes … Why do you bother to ask? Shouldn’t everyone be cynical by this time?

  30. slowkarma says:

    Eliminating the deduction would be political suicide. Worse than messing with Social Security. Might have been possible in ’97 or ’98, but not now.

    Eventually, the Republicans are going to get up against it, forced to choose between raising taxes and watching the deficit balloon. At that point, it’s possible that a liberal-conservative coalition will make a deal to cut middle-class income tax rates in return for a “revenue neutral” VAT (sold to the conservatives as a consumption tax which is more acceptable than an income or wealth-based tax; sold to liberals as the tax they always wanted to fund everything.) Once it’s established, of course, the rates will be “adjusted.”

    Couldn’t believe it the other day when the feds sued the banks. I’m no fan of the banks, but the economy is on its knees, and the banks are scared to death to lend, and everybody’s uncertain about the future, so we…launch an enormous attack on all the major banks? For an amount of money that, while large by any sane standards, is a drop in the bucket compared to to the hits that the economy and the stock market have already taken? I’d like one of you math wizards to do an back-of-the-envelope calculation for me: did the US markets drop more value after the announcement of the suits, than the feds would get if they won everything? And this decision was left in the hands of a relatively minor bureaucrat?

  31. Mike in Nola says:

    Agree with others that this isn’t going to move forward until after the next elections.

    As someone who never spent boatloads on a house with a big loan and who almost never itemized, I’d like to see it go away. If you don’t live in an area with big property taxes and you have a modest home without a big mortgage, the deduction is worthless. It favors the rich and among the unrich about all it does is encourage overpaying for houses.

  32. louis says:

    At this point in History all this will accomplish is leave more owers behind on the battlefield.

  33. criticalthought says:

    Why not eliminate the ability to roll forward capital gains from real estate into a future property? Seems like a much easier dragon to slay…. Doesn’t really impact current owners as much… In fact allows them to maintain their current budget…..

    Plus, with housing prices so low, this is the best possible time to make this change

  34. mddwave says:

    With 30 year rates now at around 4%, the mortgage deduction is signficantly less when rates where higher say 8%.

  35. deanlowe says:

    how will it affect REITs?

  36. bman says:

    I wouldn’t call paring the deduction to exclude benefiting the rich “eliminating the mortgage deductions”

    I don’t expect to get elected but after all we’ve seen the last decade, My platform would have a plank to eliminate mortgages.

  37. quaternion says:

    I don’t agree that the mortgage interest deduction is unfair to renters because they’re unable to deduct rent; after all, apartment owners get to deduct the mortgage interest they pay as an expense, and the benefit from that could conceivably get passed down to renters. Accordingly, if the interest on mortgages exceeding a certain amount were to get taxed, shouldn’t rent beyond some level get taxed as well?

  38. Michael Gat says:

    If I had my way, I’d allow the deduction for only a single residence, up to the conforming loan limit. Interest on loan amounts in excess of the limit would not be deductible.

    I’d also require you to actually prove you moved in, and limit it to no more than 2 pieces of property in any three year period, as an anti-flipping measure.

  39. Jojo says:

    I wonder how many of those worried/complaining about the possible loss of this deduction are also proponents of reducing the budget deficit? Sounds like the usual “take theirs, not mine”.

    And for those who feel that removing this particular deduction in the present weak housing environment is wrong, is there ever a RIGHT time to make the change? It doesn’t make sense in a weak economy but conversely, in a strong economy, the argument would then flip to doing so would derail the economy (as we have seen brought up numerous times in the past)!

    Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, eh?

  40. Michael Gat says:

    Seriously, I suspect:

    1) Second homes will be in play, especially those that are only infrequently used by their owners. That would be virtually all the condos at every beachfront and ski resort. This would be popular, just like the Reagan era changes that killed favorable treatment of personal aircraft, boats and other luxury items.
    2) I suspect we’re going to be moving towards using the conforming loan limit as the limit to deductibility. I actually think that makes sense. The whole notion behind all these programs was to give a boost to people at the bottom, not to subsidize everybody else. I don’t think we’re going to get that right now though. More likely, we’ll see a gradual change with the numbers moving down over the course of several years. And those of us who have chosen to live in high-cost areas with high-income jobs will just have to deal with it. Nobody forced my mom to live in two blocks from Lincoln Center or me to be two blocks from the beach.

  41. ga082003 says:

    Charts and Data point to a bloody September: 20% opportunities are setting up

  42. TLH says:

    Simplyfy the tax code.
    Lower all rates. This would make the removal of deductions seem fair.
    No deductions for personal tax returns.
    One rate for incomes over 10 (or 5) million. All and I mean all income at this rate. This to get the Dem’s off class warfare.
    We must remove politics and lobbyists from the tax code.

  43. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    TLH Says:

    Simplifying the tax code is key, however . . .

    “No deductions for personal tax returns.”

    That’s fine, as long as corporations are “persons,” they should be treated equally, in all matters, by our government.

    “. . . This to get the Dem’s off class warfare.”

    What you seem to define as “class warfare” does not belong to the Democrats, exclusively (as your mom might have told you, it takes two to tango). If you can’t recognize the war that’s been waged on the lower classes over the past 40 years, you are either ignoring fact or too young or biased to understand exactly where the middle class came from, or how.

    Do you intend to roll over and be steam rolled into the lower of 2 classes, or are you in the top 2% and looking to keep “yours” at the expanse of everyone else? Our grandparents fought hard to gain a foothold for common people within the American system, and we’d be fools or cowards not to fight to keep that footing.

    Lately, in the US, the only “entitled” class is the top 2%, or so.

    When greed tumps need, we’ll be a third-world country.

  44. Global Eyes says:

    Forget about your opinion. Here’s why the mortgage deduction might become a debatable issue: BOTH sides could agree to keep it, providing much-needed political goodwill and a boost to stability, housing and the status quo.

  45. Jim67545 says:

    If you assume that the homeowner pays $2k in real estate taxes, the home mortgage deduction is worthless if the mortgage balance is less than $140-150k (depending on interest rate.) As has been pointed out, this is because of the size of the standard deduction (I am assuming for a married couple filing jointly.) Even above that level the benefit is only the difference between the itemized deduction and the standard deduction.

    As the guy from Indiana pointed out, there are vast parts of the USA where a large percentage of housing is readily available under $200k. First time homeowners in many locales would not benefit (even though this is given as one of the primary reasons for the home mortgage deduction.) Similarly, this tends to benefit those in their prime earning years (say 30s and 40s) who would tend to have their largest mortgage balance and be disadvantageous to those in the 50+ age group who may have generally paid down their mortgage balance and the elderly who may have paid off their home.

    The methodology for qualifying a person for a mortgage loan ignores their future tax expense. So, if someone’s income tax expense would go down by virtue of buying the home they get no consideration for this increase in after tax income in qualifying for that mortgage.

    I wonder how many taxpayers would scream bloody murder over losing this deduction even though they take the standard deduction and see no benefit from it (aside from perhaps whatever benefit a purchaser of their home might perceive.)

  46. Greg0658 says:

    I read most of the ideas and posts .. imo if you want to fix this quagmire go for it .. civil unrest will require broken things get fixed .. problem solved via disaster capitalism …. but if you need to remind us all why there is such a thing as taxes .. get rid of them all .. again not smart

    a> corporate stocks are no longer a legal loan (but retain cash value & returned to holders)
    b> long tail gradual increasing tax on profits (20yr 2generation variable rate to government services balance)
    c> advertising deduction allowed only @ 1% of sales *
    d> workcation seminars allowed only @ 1% of sales *
    e> a household becomes a corporation with all of todays deductions

    * after one of those white paper studies by affected parties

  47. StatArb says:

    End it now

    The middle class , what’s left of it during this depression , has very little use for it . It’s just a New Deal tax dodge that needs to be eliminated

  48. ironman says:

    If anyone is interested, here is how the mortgage interest deduction is distributed according to household adjusted gross income.

  49. vkvirkevinson says:

    BR – what about the exemption of gains from housing??? I’m always surprised by how little this gets talked about. The change in 1997 to exempt $500,000 of GAIN (so likely homes sold for $750k++) and loosen the restrictions on what you had to do with the gain to qualify, probably helped fuel the bubble. Now surely we can’t afford it. So at least go back to 1997 rules – a one-time exemption of $125,000 if you’re over 55, everything else is taxed. Who’s on board??

  50. theexpertisin says:

    As a practitioner, I am factoring in a 60%+ reduction in the mortgage tax credit. I am told that is what to expect by some trusted peers.

    If they would tax nonprofits and religious institutions (they love to take money under tax deduction status – a double whammy I would have no problem coughing up more personally earned wealth.

  51. Jojo says:

    “a one-time exemption of $125,000 if you’re over 55, everything else is taxed. Who’s on board??”
    I agree. Congress should rein in both the tax deduction and the capital gains exclusion.

    But don’t think the real estate lobby is going to be sitting on the sidelines calmly watching proposals like this. They will be screaming bloody murder.

  52. JerseyCynic says:

    as a realtor, I say get rid of it.

    I’ve brought too many young buyers around the block that justified buying a home because of the mortgage deduction — “we’re just throwing our money out the window by paying rent”. Most of them were not even in a financial position to be looking at homes in the first place(100% financing). Good for the banks — Bad for the buyer. AND — They looked at this first purchase as their “starter home” that they will be leaving in 5 – 7 years. You all know that the 30 year mtg. is one of the biggest money mistakes one can make. Not much principle is paid down in the first couple of years. AND, at most, the “tax savings” is a few hundred bucks a year on the tax return.

    I think more importantly, getting rid of the mtg. deduction would eventually change the the much needed mindset about home ownership — treat is as a possession NOT an investment, imho.

    I laid this scenario out for a few of my buyers that had been brainwashed by this thought process. They were stunned! I told them to go rent a luxury condo/apt. and enjoy themselves before the rug rats came along, instead of throwing all their extra time and money into fixing up a piece of crap “starter home” that they would be stuck in forever (I knew what was ahead) because of the out of control lending environment we were in.

    As you can imagine, I never made a killing in real estate. I do have a nice collection of thank you notes from ex-buyers though!! They are all very grateful to me for saving them from the biggest mistake of their lives. Maybe good karma will be my payback…

  53. gman says:

    Anything to keep carried forward interest and the cap gains @ 15% and avoid looking at off shoring of profits! 401k and home mortgage deduction prob gone… ALL HAIL THE OLIGARCHS!

  54. Greg0658 says:

    why c> & d> .. they are corporate profit downsizers .. that can be used to:
    c> divert profits to friend & family shelters
    d> untaxable perks for insiders & leverage employee on employee loyalty

    and why should we care – because the things we need are produced by these supercorps – and is included in the cost of everything we buy