Skip to main content

Then write your congressman!

Oh, boy. Not again...

Those of us who pay attention to the doings of our ostensive servants above the Potomac are constantly urged to contact them on matters of urgency. Those of us who actually do so quickly tire of the futility.

How many "Thank you for supporting my position" responses to your letters opposing their positions does it take before you decide rolling rocks uphill is more productive?

This time, though, I'm asking you to give it another go.

See, last month, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sens. Tom Harkin and Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the umpty-umpth attempt at imposing a per-trade financial transaction tax.

Yawn. Again? Seems like the idea gets floated every session and nothing ever happens, right? This time, however, the prospects are looking better. The idea is getting a lot of support, and not just from the usual suspects like Krugman and Stiglitz, but from actual, known Very Important and Way Rich Guys like Bill Gates. Even John Bogle, founder of the 800-pound gorilla mutual fund outfit Vanguard Group.

See, Very Important and Way Rich Guys understand that, to keep growing a company or fund group (or country), nothing beats steady, dependable investment. The kind of 10,000-trades-an-hour bullshit that has swamped the markets over the last decades is terribly destabilizing to companies that depend on long-term investment.

Another factor making the future of a transaction tax look brighter is, wackily enough, the constant budget chicken games being played out in Congress. Even those screaming "Cuts Cuts Cuts!" know that the deficit isn't going to be erased solely by starving the beast and that some sort of revenue increases are going to be needed.

But raise individual rates? Eliminate deductions on corporate jets and electric dog polishers? Heaven forbid! (Along with Tea Party primariers).

The proposed FTT, set at three cents on 100 basis points (roughly $100), may be just the side door they're looking to slip through. Because, unless you're a speed trading house, the damn thing's virtually painless.

Let's say you're a hard-working, non-Galting job creator looking to invest in the stock market. For whatever reason, you decide you're going to go big on Microsoft this year. Really big. Say, 3 mil or so. The Harkin/DeFazio FTT will mean that, instead of 100,000 shares, your 3 mil drop will only get you... 99,999 shares.

For the smaller investor, the results will be damn near negligible. A 401(k) with a balance of $60,000 would take an average hit of about $18 a year, less than the cost of a hardback book or a decent Rioja.

With individual costs that small, how effective a revenue-raiser would the tax be? Not too shabby, actually. Current estimates have the fee bringing in $352 billion-with-a-B over the next decade. Not a bad chunk of change.

The idea is gaining more (and more surprising) adherents every day, but it stands almost no chance of getting to the floor without a big push from congresscritters' constituents.

So, please consider climbing on your stallion and tilting at that windmill once more. Who knows, if enough of us put it in writing, we could at least give the post office a shot in the arm.

Some links of interest:

Financial Transactions Tax Introduced Again—Can It Pass This Time?

5 Reasons the World Is Catching on to the Financial Transaction Tax

Oh, and P.S.:

Dow Jones hits all-time high.

Maybe Kenyan-European Socialism isn't such a bad thing?

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site