Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tax the Money Changers

Right now I'm in the Renaissance Marriott in St Louis. I'm looking out the window from the 6th floor at cars and roads and businesses that were all made possible because of what you call greed. People wanted to make money and figured out that serving others was a good scam. And in the process lots of jobs are created. We got the room through Priceline for $43 a night. It appears that lots of other folks did also because they are in the lobby apparently having a large family gathering. The same people who are extravagant are going to hear D sing, buying art, giving money to museums, etc. They support small businesses and also support people who support small businesses. In our judgment they don't always make wise choices. But the poor don't either. Hopefully education can help people make better choices. I used to tell students that they don't have to own a yacht if they can enjoy a shadow or the shape of a tar drip on the street.

See Milton Friedman talk to Phil Donohue about greed:

Kim Mosley

On Jun 18, 2011, at 9:36 AM, S wrote:

gLAD TO HAVE THIS spin. I read it again with this in mind.  But don't you think that the quick bucks that the wall street traders/banks etc. getting is unfair to the little guys who don't have enough for rent/food/college. All the rich guys buy with their "play" money is the 3rd home or the 4th lexus. they don't help small businesses. Does not the economy need to become one of "service" rather than profit and greed? What am I missing. am sending your response to D too. xx S
PS We deserve a Lexus.

At 11:16 PM 6/17/2011, you wrote:
Terrible idea. Short term trading is already taxed at a higher rate as earned income rather than as long term capital gains. Adding a greater cost to one business over another is discriminatory. Next it will be artists, then who knows whom. The argument that it would make a lot of money is not a good argument nor is it necessarily correct...because if you make a business less profitable less people will engage in it. And besides, owning stocks, whether short or long term, supports the economy. Businesses need capital to operate.

Kim Mosley

Begin forwarded message:

From: S
Date: June 17, 2011 8:11:36 PM CDT

Subject: not bad at all

Published on The Nation (

Cut Wall Street Down to Size With a Financial Speculation Tax

Sarah Anderson | June 8, 2011

If you want to transform the economy, you have to cut Wall Street down to its proper size. One way to do that is to tax the short-term speculative activities that dominate and distort financial markets.

For ordinary investors, the costs would be negligible, like a tiny insurance fee to protect against crashes caused by speculation. But for the highfliers who are most responsible for the financial crisis, the tax could raise the cost of highly leveraged derivatives trading and stock-flipping enough to discourage the most dangerous behavior.

Remember the "flash crash" of May 6, 2010, when the Dow plummeted nearly 1,000 points? If a tax of only 0.25 percent on each transaction had been in place for just the twenty most frenzied minutes of that day, traders would've faced $142 million in fees.

And remember AIG's credit default swaps? A financial speculation tax might not have stopped those greed-crazed fools, but at least Uncle Sam would've taken in about $1.1 billion on the deals.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research predicts that a tax on trades of stocks, derivatives and other financial instruments would curb excessive speculation while generating around $150 billion a year. That would be enough, for example, to fill projected Social Security shortfalls, with dough left over for other domestic and international needs.

So US politicians must be jumping on this as a solution to the country's deficit problems, right? Not exactly. For more than a year, a diverse array of labor, consumer, environmental, global health and other progressive organizations have been hammering away on them, as part of a broader international campaign. But while legislators have introduced eleven bills to create various forms of speculation taxes, none have gained serious momentum.

In 2009, according to a WikiLeaks cable, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tried the diplomatic equivalent of a rugby maul to get Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on board with a G-20 agreement on financial speculation taxes. Such international coordination, while not necessary, would help address concerns about potential tax avoidance.

But Brown, too, wound up empty-handed. Geithner's explanation: âœI have not seen the version of that that I think works.❠Perhaps he's been too busy bailing out Wall Street to research the issue. Around the world more than a dozen countries already collect some form of tax on financial transactions. A British levy on stock trades alone raises between $5 billion and $6 billion per year.

If more countries begin raising massive revenues from speculation taxes, US politicians may see the light. And the prospects for progress elsewhere are strong. In March the European Parliament called for an EU-wide transactions tax, based on a report that projected nearly 200 billion euros a year from a tax of 0.010.05 percent on each trade.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced plans to launch a "coalition of pioneers" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others at the November G-20 leaders meeting. This would be a prime opportunity for President Obama to stand alongside them and vow to do what's right for the country's short-term fiscal crisis and the world's long-term health and stability. Let's hope he doesn't view this moment instead as a good time for a restroom break.

Read the next proposal in the âœReimagining Capitalism [1] series, The Government Nudge: A Public Role in the Private Sector [2], by Robert Weissman.
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Saki Sin

I sinned the day before yesterday. So when my wife came home I asked her if I could confess. She was busy so said that she wasn't a confessional.

Yesterday I was thinking how nice to have a wife who isn't interested in my sins. I couldn't remember the previous day's sin anyway, so I was feeling quite good.

Then I was cooking a turkey breast and I read that white wine is good for that, so I added what was left in the bottle.

Problem was, after I poured it on the poor bird, I realized that it was some saki that was given to her, in a wine bottle, and not some wine that my daughter and her husband had left at our house. Oh, I'm in trouble, I thought.

My wife came home late that day. I told her I was so glad to have a wife that wasn't a confessional, and that I sinned again, but was glad that I didn't have to confess.

She said what she meant was that she wouldn't absolve me of my sins. So I thought that was fair, and told her I had done a terrible thing, mistaking the saki for wine.

She said she thought that was a good use for the saki.

I was absolved.

Anatomy Lesson and Love