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Public Statements

Issue Position: Wall Street

Issue Position

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We are now living in a diferent age. We have an economy where 40% of all business profits go to financial instituitons; yes, the same sector of the economy that we bailed out with Hundreds of Billions of tax dollars just two years ago. In return, we've seen no gratitude. The Big Mules continue to get Federal Reserve loans at less than 1%interest, but then refuse to loan money to solvent businesses. They horde the capital that we guarantee, and use it to speculate on Wall Street.

That's why I've come up with an idea, which I call Wolfe's Wall Street Tax. It would place a tax of 1% on all derivatives traded, 1/2% to the seller, and 1/2% to the buyer. Remember, you pay about 50 cents in taxes every time you buy a gallon of milk, and about $1,000 in annual property taxes on every $100,000 worth of land you own. You can't drink derivatives or live in them, so why should they receive special treatment?

Five multinational companies trade 97% of all derivatives. Special classes of derivatives are privately traded, and beyond the oversight of the Security and Exchange Commission. Derivatives are usually a bet on whether a stock or bond will go up or down in price. Some derivatives are bets on whether a debtor will repay his loan, often taken out by those who are not even parties to the loan. Some bankers even knowingly identify various bad mortgages, package them, and then place bets that the mortgages will never be repaid. Not a single person was arrested, though Goldman Sachs was fined 500 Million Dollars for this and other chicanery. Of course, Goldman Sachs makes 500 Million Dollars in profit every 15 days.

The derivatives business brings in 64 Trillion Dollars every year. That's a lot of betting that doesn't get taxed. Taxing just 1% of it will bring 640 Billion Dollars every year into the United States Treasury. That's enough to pay for the military budget, if we don't count the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.

I am certain that when we taxpayers bailed American Insurance Group (A.I.G.) and its ilk, we guaranteed every contract in full, despite the fact that many of these contracts had nothing to do with the traditional practices of banks or insurance companies. We rescued the American financial system that greed and lack of oversight nearly destroyed. I can see why the Tea Party is upset that there was little, if any, punishment for those perpetrating this colossal failure. Most people are fired or arrested for such extraordinary arrogance and brazen disregard of the law, but our system seemed to reward and reinforce Wall Street's misdeeds. And despite all this government help, speculation across Wall Street financial houses is still rampant, and their top brass are receiving ever higher bonuses. Meritocracy be damned!

Given the needs of our country, and our 13 Trillion Dollar national debt, it is only fair that we shift the burden of restoring our financial solvency to the sector of the economy that most benefited at our expense.

They should not be allowed to thrive while we, their guarantors. wither on the vine.


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