Saturday, February 07, 2009

Starve the Beast--Wall Street

We don't like smoking, so we tax the crap out of it, not just to raise money, but to discourage smoking.

Republicans apply their own perverse variation of this logic: what they love, they deregulate and throw money at, and what they hate, they starve of money and regulate to death.

They call this "starving the beast."

So Republicans love Wall Street gamblers and scammers and hate public education.

With Wall Street, we should be looking at ways to encourage people to invest in the long term profitability of companies, by buying and holding stock, and starve destructive behavior like day trading, the creation of derivatives, and short selling, which is essentially a bet that a business will fail. Britain is considering a law to ban short selling altogether.

The good side of our current economic crisis is it is forcing our politicians to talk about reality and come closer to put things in their proper perspective. These Wall Street scammers have done far more damage to our country and the world as whole than any terrorists have done, and to the extent that we HAVE a real problem with terrorists, it is from letting Wall Street dictate our foreign policy instead of our higher ideals. It is one thing to do business with a dictator, but quite something else to overthrow democratically elected leaders and replace them with dictators more compliant to business interests like oil, banana plantations, or sweatshops, or to invade a country to accomplish the same goal.

A case in point of this is Iran. Obama has talked about diplomacy with Iran, and Achmenajab said the US would first have to apologize for overthrowing their secular, democratically elected president in 1953 and replacing him with the oil company approved Shah, who ruled for 26 years until the Islamic revolution. If Eisenhower hadn't taken the oil companies' call in 1953, we would have no problem with Iran today.

If Wall Street can fuck up foreign policy that much, imagine what they are doing to us financially--oh wait, we don't have to imagine, do we?

But this isn't my idea, it's Ralph Nader's:


How to Lighten the Income Tax Load on the American Worker
Tax the Speculators!


Let's start with a fairness point. Why should you pay a 5 to 6 percent sales tax for buying the necessities of life, when tomorrow, some speculator on Wall Street can buy $100 million worth of Exxon derivatives and not pay one penny in sales tax?

Let's further add a point of common sense. The basic premise of taxation should be to first tax what society likes the least or dislikes the most, before it taxes honest labor or human needs.

In that way, revenues can be raised at the same time as the taxes discourage those activities which are least valued, such as the most speculative stock market trades, pollution (a carbon tax), gambling, and the addictive industries that sicken or destroy health and amass large costs.

Yet apart from a small number of legislators, most notably Congressman Peter Welch (Dem. VT) and Peter DeFazio (Dem. OR), the biggest revenue producer of all--a tax on stock derivative transactions--essentially bets on bets--and other mystifying gambles by casino capitalism--is at best corridor talk on Capitol Hill.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


That makes WAY too much sense!

Shows who has the power and makes the rules, doesn't it?

When something just does not make any sense, look to the MONEY TRAIL.