Tax policy experts are questioning the effectiveness of a homebuyer tax credit that expires this week, noting that many of the people who took advantage of it were planning to buy homes anyhow. "There's a political appeal to offering government aid to homeowners because it affects a lot of people," said George K. Yin, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, who now teaches at the University of Virginia. "But if you weigh the cost and the results, you have to wonder whether it's a failure of imagination." The tax credit, which will cost the federal government $12.6 billion, is being called a success by the Treasury Department, which notes it boosted home sales.

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