Monday, September 29, 2008

Not so fast with our $700 billion

I really should have more to write about this from an excellent election site but I think it speaks for itself.
How to Bail Out Wall St. at No Cost to the Taxpayers

Thom Hartmann wrote an interesting piece on how to bail out Wall St. without costing the taxpayers a dime. The idea is to create a new government agency to manage the bailout. The treasury would then loan it money to bail out Wall St. firms that are in trouble. The government would then institute a Securities Turnover Excise Tax of 0.25% on stock trades with revenues going to the new agency. For long-term investors who buy stock in companies they believe in and keep it for years adding a quarter of 1% to the cost hardly matters, and even to speculators it is not huge. It is estimated that such a tax would generate at least $150 billion a year, so the $700 billion load would be paid off in 5 years. The US has had such a tax in the past and used it to finance the Civil War, Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII. Many other countries have a similar tax. This proposal is clearly a viable alternative to either giving Wall St. $700 billion as a freebie or even getting stock in return for the money. Wall St. managers might even prefer it to a plan that limited their future compensation. Mother Jones lists yet five more alternative bailout plans.

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