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Tax expenditures, also known as "tax breaks," are a significant feature of our tax system, and, as such, a central part of the tax reform debate. Many economists believe it would help the economy to do away with some or all of these tax breaks, and in return lower marginal tax rates and reduce the deficit. Some of the most expensive tax expenditures, however, are also the most popular — including tax breaks that cover employer-provided health benefits, retirement plans, and mortgage interest.
To help inform the policy discussion, the Tax Policy Center (with a grant from the Peterson Foundation) put real numbers behind different scenarios for tax reform that are fiscally responsible: