New Legislation Would Apply First-Time Homebuyer Credit to Various Children’s Toys

April 1, 2011

Note: This blog post was written on April Fool’s Day. Parts of it may not be accurate

Worried about recent debate over the mortgage interest deduction, and determined to help preserve the American dream of home ownership for the next generation, Representative Neil. S. Tate of Nebraska’s 127th congressional district has announced he will cosponsor a controversial bill that would extend the preferential tax treatment of housing to additional types of homes.

The National Easement of Wide-ranging Dwelling Impositions and General Subsidy (NEWDIGS) Act of 2011 would extend the first-time homebuyer credit and possibly other types of new or existing tax preferences for housing to tree houses, tents, children’s playhouses, and several types of toy homes, including Barbie® Dream Houses.

Said Representative Tate:

Some policymakers and economists—those who don’t care about homeowners, children, or Americans—want to get rid of the tax benefits for homebuyers. We can’t let that happen, and the key to preserving these tax preferences is to instill in the next generation of homeowners—our children—the importance of buying large homes, borrowing, and spending beyond their means. If they don’t learn those American values at a young age, they risk ruining their entire lives, living miserably in rented apartments or enduring moderately sized, sensibly priced homes.

We need to teach children that home ownership is the most important aspect of the American Dream. The U.S. has gone to great lengths to encourage this dream. Yes, preferential tax treatment for owner-occupied housing complicates the tax code, puts renters at a disadvantage, may benefit real estate agents more than homebuyers, may encourage people to spend or borrow beyond their means, and may disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers, but all that is beside the point. We need to make those sacrifices if we want to continue to live in a nation of homeowners. People simply won’t buy houses if the tax code doesn’t encourage it. In general, people don’t do what’s good for them unless the tax code encourages it. Do you want your children to grow up to be homeless, or worse–renters?

By targeting future homebuyers at a young age, we will encourage smart habits now. Why should any American have to wait to experience the joy of buying their first home—or claiming tax deductions—until they’re in their twenties, thirties or beyond?

it’s unclear whether parents and other adults who purchase the toys will be allowed to claim the credits on their own tax returns or whether the children using the toy homes will be required to file their own tax returns.

Several children’s toy manufacturers have expressed support for the legislation.

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