President Barack Obama talked about the need to reduce the federal deficit and simplify the tax code in his state of the Union speech last night but in leaving out the specifics of how he would accomplish those goals he left it unclear whether changes to the mortgage interest deduction (MID) would be part of the mix.

Changing MID to a 12 percent tax credit was proposed as part of his deficit reduction commission's final report late last year, and while Obama in his speech said the commission's work provided a starting point for deficit reduction, he made it clear he wouldn't be incorporating all of its recommendations in his proposed budget, which he's expected to release next month. I don't agree with all of their proposals, he said.

What he did say, though, is that the government needs to tackle excessive spending-and that includes spending through tax breaks and loopholes. In one specific example, he said he would propose a five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending for $400 billion in deficit reduction.

In other points, he wants to ramp up spending on infrastructure, make 80 percent of electricity come from clean energy sources by 2035, and streamline the federal bureaucracy-something that would likely include consolidating the housing function because, he said, there are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy.