Tax the Traders! Make Wall Street Pay Its Share

Wall Street bankers have been called today’s “welfare queens,” feeding at the public trough to the tune of trillions of dollars. They are taking from the taxpayers and not giving back. These banks were rescued so they could make loans, take deposits, and keep our money safe. But while that is what banks used to do, today the big Wall Street money comes from short-term speculation in currency transactions, commodities, stocks, and derivatives for the banks’ own accounts . . . .

Read entire article (posted on Truthout) here.

6 Responses

  1. The current CEO of Goldman Sachs says: “”We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle.” To drive home his point, he makes a remarkably bold claim. “We have a social purpose.”

    Every financier cloaks his or her speculative activity behind this same pious self-justification. Former Lehman Brothers bond trader, Lawrence McDonald, becomes rhapsodic when describing the historical social role of Lehman ( “A Colossal Failure of Common Sense”). The role of financial middle man is “holy”, he believes.

    If you were being paid millions per year, you might find it easy to sell yourself to the rubes in just this way. The key word is “sell”. The truth is Wall Street is to the market economy what insurance companies are to health care. They conceal their profit motive behind a sacred social purpose. They sell it to the public and to themselves, as well. A guy like Lawrence McDonald believes his own bullshit.

    And so does the US Congress and the President. They believe it because it makes them rich. It must be true.

    So put a tax on their “trading”. Tax the usurious middleman, those people who take their cut in the name of all that is holy.

    That won’t be easy because it so happens that a majority of American investors will see their money-for-nothing returns on investment reduced to compensate the lords of finance for their losses.

    It so happens that the American investment community, the great middle class and above, has bought the financier’s sales pitch. They believe in bullshit just like they believe in making a profit from disease and misfortune.

    It’s capitalism and it really sucks. When you accept the idea that your self-interest is the same thing as the public interest, you are a card carrying American capitalist, the most self-deluded idiot in the known world.

  2. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world if he loses his own soul in the meanwhile?”

    “Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter The Kingdom.”

    The “eye of the needle” was a term used for the narrow after-hours gate to the inner city of Jerusalem. All baggage needed to be removed in order to pass through.

    In order for people to see the truth, they need to pass through this narrow opening, shedding the baggage of bad ideas about capital, state, and the human person.

    The ends do not justify the means.

    Riteous indignation over exploitative capitalism does not make one a Marxist. By the same token, indignation toward Satism (as defined by Mark Levin in Liberty and Tyranny) does not make one a self-riteous, greedy capitalist. As the late Pope John Paul II had said, any economic system that ignores the dignity of the human person is bound to fail.

    Who is being served in our economic system: private capital, the State, or the human person? The answer lies how in the weakest among us are regarded and served – the poor, the unborn, and the handicapped.

  3. Just because everyone believes rich people create jobs, doesn’t make it true. Rich people don’t create jobs. Rich people can’t create jobs.

    Only DEMAND creates jobs. No demand = no production, period. Only demand can create and does create jobs.

    Which means, as any rational person can see with a moment’s thought, that it is the people who create their own jobs.

    We create our own jobs.

    Fight the fog.

    Fact: capital formation is highest in the most egalitarian countries.

    We do not have to give away our money to wealthpower giants, to make it work for commerce.

    Tell everyone.

  4. People are just not jiggy with the irrefutable and essential fact that the total pool of wealth is finite – and that therefore overpay has nowhere to come from but from underpay. The steeper the overpay soars, the deeper and wider the underpay has to spread. There is no rocket science in this – it’s just simple math.

    All sorts of rationalizations are used in attempts to justify overpay (the practice is known as Economics), but the huge thing being missed is that there exists no way to justify forcing lifelong underpay on Barney Average in order to overpay Adam Bright. If Adam is working twice as long as Barney, then justice pays Adam twice as much – not millions or billions times as much!

    I’ll bet the farm the ceo of goldamn saks us can’t name me a single cheap-labor paradise that has ever existed on this Earth.

  5. It’s all just too absurd for words. Here we are, everybody believing that the rich create jobs when the truth is the opposite: it is the superoverfortunated who reliably manufacture the scarcity of jobs to keep the workingman working cheap. And that goes on in spite of the fact that work is the first condition of life – no workee to get food = no eatee = no survivee – which means society has no right whatsoever to withhold jobs from anyone. None. You deny people jobs, you kill them. Society must be compared to humans living in a state of nature to see if it’s a benefit or not – and it’s no benefit if it takes away a person’s ability to feed themselves the fruits of their own labor!

    Every move these social-darwinist uberrich make is designed to keep working joe and jane over a barrel and running on the debt treadmill for life, but people will cuss out unions (unions being one example of the ways the people endlessly attack the rich trying to get their rightful money back) whilst handing the welfare kings another free lunch, dinner, midnight snack and breakfast. No free lunch, my Aunt Fanny. The rich are literally eating the working poor, and have always done so. I swear we need a holiday where we dig up Milton Friedman’s carcass once a year and shoot it. Same for Alan Greenspan once he croaks. The problem with these people isn’t that they don’t know what they’re doing: the problem is they know what they’re doing and they’re doing it anyway. It’s time for humanity to make a Promethian mastery of money before our confused and irrational ideas burn the house down. The house is already on inequality fire – and when the house is on fire it is not time to sit and discuss what might or might not be outside: when the house is on fire it is time to get out of the burning house!

    Ellen (speaking of people who are helping people make that Promethian mastery of money – and good on ya, dear woman), Sam Pizzigati has some excellent history in his book “Greed and Good; Understanding the Inequality That Limits Our Lives” that’ll shed some light on the hollowness of the wealthflight threat you mention in this arcticle as one asserted impediment to instituting a Tobin Tax (what a sane thing to do – the Tobin proposal – and maybe The Simultaneous Policy (google it, folks) could get it accomplished). I’ll try to get Sam’s stuff up in the lounge in the forum soon, but his book can be read online and people might find pages 489 – 498 eyeopening.

    http://www.greedandgood.org/BookPDFs/ggmaximum.pdf

    it’s in that chapter

  6. What Xavier said…

    Jere

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