(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
While we have been distracted by the irrational exuberance of a second term for Barack Obama, Benghazi (again) and gun control, the European Union has come around to the realization that there is a need to do something about the economy. On Tuesday the the EU approved a financial transaction tax (FTT) for eleven nations:
Eleven countries won the EU’s backing for a financial transaction tax (FTT), with Germany, France, Italy and Spain adding their names to eurozone neighbours Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The UK, which already imposes a tax on share trades, could benefit from a shift in banking business if Germany and France tax foreign exchange or derivatives trading in Frankfurt and Paris.
The levy, which could raise as much as €35bn (£29.3bn) a year for the 11 countries, is designed to prevent a repeat of the conditions that stoked the credit crunch by reining in investment banks. Following the decision, the European Commission will put forward a new proposal for the tax, which if agreed on by those states involved, would mean the levy could be introduced within months. Although critics say such a tax cannot work properly unless applied worldwide or at least across Europe, countries such as France are already banking on the extra income from next year.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted:
Most of Europe will now tax financial transactions, generating billions for hard-pressed budgets. U.S. should do same. money.cnn.com/2013/01/22/new…
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 22, 2013
Despite past unsuccessful attempts to introduce a FTT, two Democratic representatives, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), will reintroduce the FTT which would raise an estimated $352 billion over the next decade by imposing a 0.03 percent tax on trades. That translates to 3 dollars on every $100 in trades. Critics have said that it will have a detrimental effect on economic growth, one of the bill’s sponsors have stated that has already been proven to be false:
“For 50 years we had a tax that was about seven times larger than this when the country was seeing the greatest growth in its history, post-World War II,” he said. “So we’ve proven this will not have a detrimental impact on growth. In fact, it perhaps is beneficial to growth. It’s not necessarily beneficial to salaries of hedge fund managers on Wall Street.”
Complaints that an FTT would encourage businesses to move elsewhere are countered by the facts that 52 financial executives, including several former heads of mega-banks JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, endorsed the idea and forty countries around the world have already embraced a transactions tax.
Economist and author David Cay Johnston joined Ed Schultz on the The Ed Show what the FTT would mean for the American economy.
With the capitulation on filibuster reform and the feral children still running the asylum, there is little chance that something this sensible will even get out of committee. That is a very sad state of affairs for this country.
Correction: We received a very kind e-mail from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston noting that he is not an economist. He is a renowned investigative journalist who has written about economics and the US tax system.