The surprising Mrs Thatcher

After a clunker of a column last week, the Financial Times’s Clive Crook is back on track with a reasonable plea to simplify the US tax system (subscribers only). What struck me, however, was his peroration:

Eradicating those treasured deductions is a enormous political challenge, needless to say. But it can be done. (British politicians used to think that mortgage tax relief was untouchable; it no longer exists.) Democrats need to weigh the difficulty against the prize.

I wonder if the Republican presidential aspirants who are ludicrously trekking to London to receive the benediction of Margaret Thatcher know about her tax radicalism. Sure, she reduced marginal rates of taxation. But she also eliminated tax relief on mortgage interest by first capping it (to the first £30,000 of a mortgage if memory serves) and then paring it away year by year. Who in the US wants to be that radical?

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