One of the things I've been railing about for years (and been roundly ignored on for years ) is the insidious practice of using various form of tax rebates (deductions, credits, etc..) as a means of manipulating society. They are the functional equivalent of mandates that carry a financial penalty. If there is a silver lining to the travesty of the ACA, it's that it has highlighted this equivalency in all it's ugliness. Those of you opposed to the individual mandate, who defend tax policies like the home mortgage deduction, need to think long and hard about what's going on. They are essentially the same thing. The insurance mandate tells us we must buy insurance, or pay more taxes. The home mortgage deduction says that we must commit to home debt, or pay more taxes. Same thing. All income tax deductions that aren't legitimately part of calculating net income, indulge the same corrupt practice. It allows congress to enact laws that dictate behavior (and punish those who do not comply) in ways that would never be tolerated if they were enacted honestly as straightforward laws. They're using the power to tax far, far beyond it's intent as a backdoor tool to legislate broadly. This is what we're up against.