I've heard in a few economic circles about the scope of largesse that is the MID. But Jesus. $71 billion a year. And pretty much mostly for rich people.
I'm not sure I agree it's "for" rich people, even if only well-off people can claim it . It's for banks, really. The benefit isn't really so much to the people claiming the credit, but to the banks who are charging the interest. That is because we calculate tax savings into any reasonable calculation about how much house we're willing to pay for. If you know you're going to "save", say, $4,000 per year on your taxes, then you might also think that's $250 more per month to put toward that mortgage (which is all interest in the beginning). That $4,000 is money that the government is taking from everyone and giving to mortgage bankers. I hate the MID. It's a scam (and I say this as someone who qualifies for it). I would love to see it destroyed. A mortgage is a product, and I should no more get a deduction for buying a house than for a car, a computer, or a lap dance.