USA Today Says It's Time to Tax Wall Street

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Written by Nicole Woo   
Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:45

The financial transaction tax has truly gone mainstream, with the nation's widest-circulation print newspaper, USA Today, endorsing it as a way to tamp down on dangerous high-speed trading. Their editorial, High-frequency trading insanity, states:

Slap a small transaction tax on rapid trades, impeding the practice and returning markets to their core purpose.
That would be a big win for small investors, and the only people harmed would be those now putting everyone else at risk.

USA Today joins other leading editorial boards, including the Boston Globe and New York Times, in calling for a taxes of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street trades.

Dean Baker of CEPR was credited soon after the financial crises of 2008 as "the most vocal proponent of the tax." With Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he's helped build an academic case for the tax over the past decade.  And they're joined by fellow prominent economists, including Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman.

Even financial industry players have stepped up and supported the idea, such as John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group; Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft; Mark Cuban, billionaire investor; and over 50 financial experts who signed this open letter in support of financial transaction taxes.

Currently there are 15 bills before Congress that include some form of the financial transaction tax.  So far, the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation has provided an official revenue estimate for the Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act: over $350 billion over 9 years from a tax of 3/100 of a percent on Wall Street trades. This swamps the amounts that could be collected from many other options that are being debated. 

The list of supporters of a tax on financial speculation is diverse and growing.  In a time of cuts to vital programs and services, as well frightening flash crashes on Wall Street, the financial transaction tax certainly deserves serious consideration by the media, the public, and our leaders.

Tags: budget | deficit | economy | financial speculation tax | FTT