Home > Economy, Health Care > Nurses Call for Tax on Wall Street, Host Soup Kitchen in Old Town Eureka

Nurses Call for Tax on Wall Street, Host Soup Kitchen in Old Town Eureka

[Press Release] — RNs to sponsor soup kitchens, food pantries, speak outs on the need for jobs, healthcare, education, housing – and outline the RN plan on how to pay for it.

From Maine to California, nurses, joined by others fed up with the ongoing economic crisis, will call on Congress members in their local district offices September 1 to support a tax on Wall Street financial speculation, a revenue source fast becoming an international norm, to pay for healing the nation.

Events, from soup kitchens to help feed the hungry and homeless, to community speak outs to street theater are planned from major urban centers like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Orlando, to smaller cities and towns, such as Corpus Christi, TX., Marquette, MI., Bakersfield, CA., Dayton, OH., and Worcester, MA. National Nurses United is sponsoring the actions.

Nurses will visit the home offices of Republicans and Democrats alike, with a common message. Everyday Americans are hurting, and they need jobs, healthcare, housing, quality education, nutrition, and a secure retirement, not more cuts, as has been the obsession of Congress.

Join Nurses in Eureka for a Main Street Action: 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Soup Kitchen at 2nd Street and F Street. At 11:30 a.m. a delegation will head to Representative Mike Thompson’s office at 317 3rd Street, Eureka.

The RNs will be calling on Congress members to sign a pledge to “support a Wall Street transaction tax that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street.” The visits follow a letter sent by certified mail to all 535 members of the House and Senate last week asking them to back the pledge and help “make the promise of the American dream… a reality.”

A tax on Wall Street trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives, currencies, credit default swaps, and futures – the very financial speculative activity linked to the 2008 financial meltdown and resultant recession – could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for the programs that “are desperately needed to reduce the pain and suffering felt by so many families who feel abandoned in communities across this nation,” says NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN.

NNU, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses, has convened numerous other protests in recent months joined by labor and community activists, including in Washington DC, outside the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and in New York City, across from the Stock Exchange, to advance this campaign.

“America’s nurses see every day the broad declines in health and living standards that are a direct result of patients and families struggling with lack of jobs, un-payable medical bills, hunger and homelessness. We know where to find the resources to bring them hope and real solutions,” said NNU Co-president Karen Higgins, RN. “It’s time for Wall Street financiers, who created this crisis and continue to hold so much of the nation’s wealth, to start contributing to rebuild this country, and for the American people to reclaim our future,” says NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

  1. Dave
    August 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Great idea. I never heard of taxing Wall Street before, but it sure makes sense to me.
    I hope all of these good people make an impression on our polarized politicians.

  2. Plain Jane
    August 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Working for Wall Street is one of the few issues they aren’t very polarized over.

  3. Walt
    August 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    If Wall Street runs America, isn’t dissing them anti-American? Next Perry will label you terrorists, and, when he takes power, ship you all off to Gitmo.

  4. Plain Jane
    August 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    That’s too far from the corporate slave labor camps, err, I mean prison work programs.

  5. Anonymous
    August 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Great! A food kitchen in Old Town on F street. Isn’t it enough that we have St Vinney’s and the Rescue Mission ruining business in Old town?

  6. Plain Jane
    August 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Isn’t that where St. Vincent de Paul’s dining room is?

  7. Duh
    August 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    It’s called capital gains tax, and everyone pays the tax on profitable trades.

  8. Plain Jane
    August 31, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Duh is a good name for you. What is being proposed is a tax on stock market transactions.

    “Most of us pay state and local sales taxes on most things we buy, and most casino gambling is subject to state taxes ranging from up to 6.75 percent in Nevada to 55 percent on slot machines in Pennsylvania.

    But speculative purchases of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments in the United States go untaxed but for a tiny fee (less than a half-cent) on stock trades that helps finance the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    In Britain, by contrast, a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions raises about $40 billion a year. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany recently announced plans to introduce a similar tax in the 27 nations of the European Community.”

    “a sales tax on Wall Street of 0.5 percent could raise up to $175 billion in tax revenue a year, even if, by discouraging frequent trades, it cuts the total number of transactions in half.”

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/a-sales-tax-on-wall-street-transactions/

    There are further claims that it would reduce the speculation that has created so much chaos in the markets as well.

  9. Duuuuuhhh
    August 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    If your plan is to get money out of wall street trading firms then you would levy higher taxes on these firms based on profits, not charge a “fee” to traders. But I know, you see $$$ and think it is OK to take it. After all it’s not your money, obviously. Why don’t we just take a penny off of ever ATM or credit card transaction and redistribute it to ourselves, new homes, fat pensions, free healthcare? Get the picture?

  10. Anonymous
    August 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    St. Vinney’s feeding station is on third street down around A Street. Take a drive down there and get an eyeful of why Eureka will never get ahead. It looks like the Night of the Living Dead. I think that is where the free showers are located.

  11. Plain Jane
    August 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Why should the purchase of stocks not be taxed when we tax the purchase of baby shoes, and by more than 0.5%. Withdrawing money from the ATM isn’t a purchase.

  12. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 7:33 am

    maybe the government should live within it’s means, pj.

  13. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

    The people in a democracy tell the government what they want and the government figures out how to pay for it, 7:33. The money has already been spent so now we have to figure out how to pay it back without putting millions more out of work and on the streets which would, you know, worsen our economy. A small fee on stock market transactions will raise needed revenue and might reduce the volatility caused by speculators and day traders. That’s a win / possible win in my book.

  14. Down the Road
    September 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Regardless who is taxed or why, it is the consumer who will
    eventually pay for it.

  15. skippy
    September 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I wish the nurses well. This country needs to wake up to what’s happening.

    Manufacturing in this country has gone from 27% in the 1950s declining to roughly 13% today. What’s taken its place is the financial services sector— and with converse numbers in comparison. We’re not so good at manufacturing anything anymore– whether it’s products, highways, or building bridges. Wall Street’s financial services sector, however, has become very good plundering what’s left.

    Wall Street and speculative cronies have ruined the economy, plundered the Treasury, and now sacking the middle class. They’re exploiting the commodities, currencies, and stock markets of every country taking advantage of the housing, tech, and energy bubbles, loaning and borrowing massive amounts of money, and immensely enriching an entirely new breed of plutocrats.

    How have Wall Street and the financial services sector been able to accomplish this? Through the confusing and complex use of credit derivatives and default swaps, mortgage backed securities, flash trading, arbitrage, laddering, index speculation, quantitative computer-driven modeling analysis, numbers theory and probability, tranches, collateralized debt and mortgage obligations, and other fancy Rube Goldberg inventions most of us know little about, much less understand. Folks, this really is a new thing; Wall Street’s own little La Cosa Nostra?.

    Whole economies are being slowly drained and plundered daily across the globe, including ours. Private Wall Street companies are shielded from public view and using secret, speculative, and ‘proprietary’ techniques making themselves billionaires– at your expense. The wealth is redistributing upwards. Haven’t you noticed? Your truly has seen this on a rare, firsthand basis.

    Skippy’s family is in the business– a private business, at the very top of the food chain. They’re well known on Wall Street but not to the common individual. They monitor every stock market, every commodity, and every currency of every country 24 hours a day taking advantage of the ‘mispricings”. They’ve had only 3 ‘down’ days in the past 20 years; 9/11 was one of their most profitable days ever. They’ve even attempted to buy the NASDAQ stock exchange. Without producing a product, they’ve become one of the wealthiest families on the planet– in 20 years. In the next 20, they’ll be at the very top of the ladder. Yes, they shelter and ship their profits, legally, offshore, paying no income tax and some capital gains. Politicians on both side of the aisle laud their efforts and stay out of the way.

    I wish the nurses well.

  16. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Brilliantly written, Skippy! They also directly and indirectly control the vast majority of the media from far right to “liberal” mainstream, print and broadcast so the truth of what you are saying will never reach most people who, as others have noted, are too busy worrying about survival to think about how they are being manipulated. History tells us that such imbalance can only go so far before the whole game is upended and we are reaching that point. Hopefully we’ll regain equilibrium before it gets to the point of violence; but if history is any guide, there’s not much reason to be optimistic.

  17. September 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Isn’t it rather contradictory to send the police out to run off the homeless while, at the same time, offering free food?

    “Regain equilibrium”? Way too late for that. The looting of America is complete, Obama made sure of that. All the rich are doing is squabbling over the crumbs.

  18. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

    It isn’t only the homeless who need free food, Joe. There are lots of people shorting their food budget to pay the rent and utilities. Regardless, police shouldn’t be harassing people over their lack of a home. In this country even the most destitute have the same civil rights as the richest person, at least in theory.

  19. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Jane, you say that purchases will be taxed even if there is no profit? If you want to stifle business then provide a disensentive for investment. If there is no investment then there will be no real economic growth. We can not improve overall economic health by taxing the life out of the economy.

  20. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Do we tax baby shoes even though there is no profit, Ben?

  21. The Big Picture
    September 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Nurses are the ones witnessing the effects of a nation’s divestment in its people bankrupted by illness.

    61% of taxable U.S. corporations paid no taxes in 2000! Their access to a stable currency, to U.S. courts enforcing their contracts, and the 750 U.S. military bases protecting their access to child labor, are all subsidized by American taxpayers.

    What hubris it is to assume that ex-patriot corporations wouldn’t do to America’s working families what it does to families around the globe.

    Brooksley Born, director of the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, fought to regulate Over-the-Counter Derivatives 8 years before the crash. Congress slashed her budget and she resigned. (PBS Frontline, “The Warning”).

    Today, four years into the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, most Americans have never heard of the CFTC or OTC derivatives that remain unregulated.

    Thanks to our “free” press, Americans who missed that particular Frontline episode have no idea what this nation’s tyranny is costing them.

    How do you tax an unregulated transaction?

  22. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Being unregulated doesn’t mean there is no record, BP.

    “What hubris it is to assume that ex-patriot corporations wouldn’t do to America’s working families what it does to families around the globe.”

    They have never quit trying. They partner with corrupt regimes in countries where the people aren’t allowed to unionize, have no benefits, little to no environmental protection and can bribe officials to get anything they want. Why would anyone believe that isn’t their preferred form of “government” when they are buying ours, destroying unions, gutting environmental regulations, cutting taxes and trying to destroy the social safety net?

  23. The Big Picture
    September 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    One person’s freedom is anothers tyranny.

    A dreadful lesson to have to relearn.

    We already had an economic model that worked…back when high taxes on high incomes ushered-in this nation’s greatest period of prosperity…once considered patriotic investments in a productive nation’s human resources.

    It was vehemently fought back then too by traitors who conspired to overthrow FDR.

    With writers like PJ, Skippy and Walt, Heraldo could expand to fill the gap left by an increasingly irrelevant and inaccessible Times Standard.

    Get a few local sponsors, hire a reporter, and gradually expand to sectional coverage of legal, classifieds, etc. Be the first community-centered news-source.

    I will subscribe.

  24. The Big Picture
    September 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    “Being unregulated doesn’t mean there is no record, BP”.

    Being unregulated invites manipulated and meaningless records manufactured as needed.

    Which is the way it is now, except there are penalties for violations that require a whisleblower, an eager press .

  25. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    If you want to discourage speculation you would raise the capital gains tax rate. It you want to redistribute the wealth and keep the rich from controlling markets, you enforce antitrust laws. You break up the large trusts (corporations) into much smaller entities, thereby giving more people more opportunity and less concentration of wealth and power. Neither political party is game to what really needs done to rectify the situation.

  26. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Jane, taxing baby shoes is a tax on consumption. Do we tax when you put money in a savings account? When you receive INCOME from the savings account you pay tax on that imcome, just as you pay a tax on dividends and capital gains on sales of INVESTMENT property. Just because you buy an equity interest (stock) for the purposes of looking for a profit (our economic system) that should not be a taxible event.
    So Anonymnous, we should discourage “speculation”? That is discourage investment and “redistribute” wealth. That was tried and failed in Russia, Cuba, and China.

  27. Not A Native
    September 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    And exactly how did that fail in China??? Want to bring up Viet Nam and Venezuela too? How about Sweden and Norway?

    Ben, you’re just regurgitating the Red Scare lies of Joe McCarthy. He brought this country to the edge of totalitarian police state and you’re just drinking and selling his discredited kool aid. He’s been unmasked as demagogue, appealing to prejudices and fears.

    This isn’t the 1950’s, no matter how much you want it to be. We don’t want it and we’re not going to let you bring it back.

  28. September 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    All those who think “Wall Street” doesn’t pay taxes please raise your hands. Then go get educated.

    They pay taxes just like the rest of us do and plenty of them. This is singling out one group of people and punishing them with a tax the rest of us don’t pay.

    Be careful, the Democrats could be coming after you next.

    Wall Street serves an extremely useful purpose. Without the ability to raise capital through the sales of stock (part ownerships) this country and the world’s economy would be devastated immediately. It would make the depression look like the good old days.

    The tax on capital gains was lowered to encourage more investment and to help businesses raise the necessary capital to survive and expand. Every last one of you depends on businesses being able to do that, even you retired folk.

  29. September 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    NAN, it did fail in China. That is why they have adopted a more capitilistic system there in the last 20 years or so.

    Once they did the economy of China started taking off. In fact those countries (like North Korea) who have refused to adopt it are economic basket cases.

  30. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Capitalism for the minority and slavery for the majority is called what exactly?

  31. Fact Checker
    September 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    High Finance says:
    September 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    “…it did fail in China. That is why they have adopted a more capitilistic (sic) system there in the last 20 years or so.

    Once they did the economy of China started taking off.”

    “capitalistic” High Ball. “Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit”
    The “state” owns virtually everything in China. This does not meet the criteria for “privately owned”. And really No Class, China as a shining example of the greatness of Capitalism?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

  32. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I used China, etc. as an example of an economic system where there was no insentive for investment. Now that China is encouragning private investment their economy is taking off. I am not bringing up “red scare” but pointing out the limits to discourging investment. If there is a tax on an activity which is used for investing, then there will be less investment. Investments are placing your private capital at risk in the hope of a positive return on investment.
    Jane, please explain your majority minority comment, it does not make sense.

  33. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Do you really think there is a danger of low investment when investors have been inflating and popping financial bubbles, Ben? We’ve had “irrational exuberance” in the financial and real estate markets which just about brought the global economy to its knees while those at the top got a lot richer and the rest of us got poorer. Haven’t you noticed?

  34. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I was referring to the countries US corporations choose to do business with, Ben. They are all corrupt, virtual dictatorships that are willing to oppress the workers for the profit of the corporations and themselves with vast wealth gaps between those at the top and the majority. That’s what they are trying to do here.

  35. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    So, Jane, do you believe that there should be no investment opportunities to prevent “bubbles” and “irrational exuberance”? Do you believe that we should not have a free market but one that is controlled by someone?
    Changes in value is one of the risks of investment. I do not understand how you personally became poorer other than you lost investment income in realestayr or on an equity envestment. Or, is it that you feel poorer without actually having lost actual cash? You do not actually loose money unless you sell an investment for less than you paid, if you are looking at a current “value” you have not actually lost money until you sell the investment.

  36. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Real estate, oops.

  37. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    There you go with black / white thinking again, Ben. A 0.5% tax on transactions, like the rest of the first world has already implemented or soon will, is not “no investment opportunities.” If they were paying better wages to the employees of their investments, we wouldn’t be in the economic situation we are in today because more people would be paying federal income taxes and those at the top wouldn’t have quite so much taxable income. You can’t have most of the income without having most of the responsibility to pay the bills.

    If you aren’t aware that wages for most people in this country have declined while the richest got richer, you haven’t been paying attention and need to catch up before you undertake to discuss the economic situation today.

  38. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Jane,
    Talk about black and white! If a public retirement fund manages its investments by selling and purchasing, then the “investors” in the fund will have a lower return on their “investment” that is their retirement. Public and private retirement funds invest in significant ways and if they paid a tax on their sales and purchases then the value of the fund would be lower. Now you say that it is just 1/2 a percent, but if there are multiple changes in investments in a year, that certaily would add up and reduce the future income of retirees. It all sounds good when you are thinking of some “rich person” investing, but this is a double sided blade.
    When you claim that wages have declined, what is your data? Are you talking about individual people getting pay cuts or some statistical analysis? Your attention to detail is lacking.

  39. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    An additional point: many fund managers conduct multiple transactions a week. If they just did one a week, then there would be a 26% combined transaction tax at a .5% rate per transaction. A 26% decline in investment value would be significant and destructive.

  40. tra
    September 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Wait…you lost me there. Where did that 26% figure come from?

  41. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I a fund manager transacts one transaction a week that = 52/.5=26

  42. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    “Are you talking about individual people getting pay cuts or some statistical analysis? ”

    Both. Individuals’ wages have declined along with the number of jobs. Funny how that seems to occur together. Worrying about investors having to pay a 0.5% tax on transactions while working class people are losing their jobs and homes because the rich are too greedy to pay decent wages just doesn’t interest me, Ben. Someone has to pay to keep them alive and the working classes can’t. Give them jobs or bread or you aren’t going to like it around here very much.

    “This analysis suggests that earnings have not stagnated but have declined sharply. The median wage of the American male has declined by almost $13,000 after accounting for inflation in the four decades since 1969. This is a reduction of 28 percent!”

    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0304_jobs_greenstone_looney.aspx

    It’s up to investors how many transactions they choose to make. If it costs them for each one they will make fewer and that will lessen the churning of the markets by speculators / day traders.

  43. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Ben forgot (?) that the 0.5% transaction fee is only on the amount of the transaction, not the entire portfolio.

  44. Ben
    September 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Correct, but if 25% of the “profit” is lost for the transactions that happen, that is significant. Many funds turn their portfolio frequently. So what is the problem with frequent buy/sells? Churning is a word used to describe an investment advisor who asks clients to frequently buy/sell to get their commissions. I do not see any problem with day traders, why is that a sin? Should there be limits for any transaction frequenty. Help, stop frequent shopping for food! Silly concept.

  45. tra
    September 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Ben,

    Thanks for clarifying how you came up with that 26% figure.

    Obviously this kind of tax wouldn’t work out very favorably for day traders and other short-term speculators who are just feeding off of (and adding to) day-to-day volatility in the markets.

    However, for those investing in more long-term, productive way, it seems like the proposed tax would be a pretty modest burden.

  46. Plain Jane
    September 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    But it isn’t 25% of the profit that is lost on a transaction, Ben. It is 0.5%. Guessing how many transactions an investor might make doesn’t add anything to a factual discussion.

  47. Not A Native
    September 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Ben, I’ll be as kind as I can: You’re simply not very smart and substitue slogans and buzzwords for critical thinking. Especially when you champion daytrading retirees as being worthy of preferential investment tax policy.

    Moving ‘hot’ money around in fractions of a second in response to the latest rumor or panic isn’t investing, its nothing more than gambling. But it harms real people whose livelihoods are dependent on committed investor capital, not cut and run arbitragers.

    And if you take a purely ideological point of view, capitalism and individual incentive aren’t dependent on millisecond speculation and ‘free markets’ don’t require zero cost trading.

  48. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    If you have cash or cash equivalents, and you want to sell then you need a buyer, that’s why we have stock exchanges. It’s a capital market. If you have some money changer (0.5% tax) taking a percentage off the top every time you convert you money, then after enough exchanges you wouldn’t have anything left. Kind of like traveling around the world and paying an exchange rate every time you convert your money. Doesn’t that irritate you?

    Enforcing antitrust laws are not contrary to capitalism. When large corporations (or government, or unions) can dictate prices, wages, etc, and have a large controlling interest in some sector of the economy, it’s called a monopoly, or an oligopoly. This is not “fair” competition and someone is always going to get the short end of the stick because it’s rigged to profit the corporation, government, or union exclusively above all others. But if we allow freedom of competition, with equality and fairness, then with it comes prosperity. We are a long way off with such a myriad of laws contrary to fairness and equality.

  49. The Big Picture
    September 2, 2011 at 12:55 am

    “Without the ability to raise capital through the sales of stock (part ownerships) this country and the world’s economy would be devastated immediately. It would make the depression look like the good old days”.

    Got that? Forget about unregulated, untaxed Wall Street transactions and the New Depression it saddled American families with: record bailouts, bankruptcies and foreclosures.

    A 0.5% tax would, “end the ability to sell stock and raise capital”!???

    The deluded few on rural “Heraldo” who think they’re beneficiaries of a rigged economy are hilarious.

  50. Ben
    September 2, 2011 at 7:10 am

    NAN, I do not get your opposition to today’s technology for equity trading. I certainly remenber the day when I would call my broker and ask to sell an equity and receive the money by check weeks later. Today it is very simple and significantly less expensive to use my laptop to watch the market and buy or sell quickly, now confirmations are within a few minutes.
    Your concerns about day traders is unjustified. The amount of trading by those folks is insignificant in the whole sceme of things. But when you call people who do not agree with you stupid, that certainly is not a smart way of having a discussion. Cleraly not everyone agrees and that is the basis of discussion, I hope I am smart enough to understand that.

  51. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 8:33 am

    TRA, you’re idea that people buying and holding for the long term is more “productive” ignores reality. Things change and people buy and sell for a variety of reasons. Lets say you bought B of A a month ago with the idea of keeping it for a long time. Today they are getting sued by the government. You now change your opinion and want to cut your losses and sell. You should be penalized for selling? You are already going to lose 15% on the sale, plus fees.

    Jane, it is incredible you don’t understand the math on this. Money managers are buying and selling all the time and it isn’t just because people are greedy. Their customers might want to change their plans, they may be withdrawing money for a medical bill, vacation, or to pay for college. Many retired people have a fixed amount withdrawn monthly for living expenses.

  52. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 8:50 am

    It’s still only 0.5% 8:33. You are playing the same game that Ben is playing, guessing how often they will buy and sell, how much they will lose on the sale and then adding the loss to the 0.5%. It’s their choice how often they want to buy or sell and whether it is worth the 0.5% transaction fee. They still pay a lower capital gains rate than people who labor for an income so they should be happy they’re only being asked to pay a tiny fee for their transactions.

  53. September 2, 2011 at 8:56 am

    “Fact” Checker, 3.32pm. Are you ever embarrassed by how often you are wrong ?

    “Did China adopt capitalist economy. If so when?”

    “1978, the opening door policy embraced the market economy. Since then China has been in the middle between capitalist and communist (socialist) economic idealism.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090607111133AADq2jg

  54. September 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

    This whole subject of a special (and discriminatory) tax on Wall Street transactions is nothing more than a money grab by Democrats and using class envy to gain support by unthinking people.

  55. iheartagramyou616@hotmail.com
    September 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

    It doesn’t matter whether it is 0.5% or 26% it is counterproductive and cannot be justified.

    It will also cost the pension funds of teamsters, teachers and all employees. Those pension funds are major players in the market.

    It is ridiculous to say that it is “greedy” for money managers to be making transactions. Every single person in the world wants to maximize the return on investment by their funds.

  56. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

    It isn’t discriminatory if it taxes every transaction the same, HiFi. If I buy gas I pay a special tax, same for alcohol and cigarettes. Are those taxes discriminatory? Your whining about “class envy” is so predictable, almost as predictable as your whining about the fabulous lifestyles of the destitute.

  57. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Cry me a friggin river, Iheart. Without adequate government revenue millions of people have lost their jobs AND their pension funds and it isn’t going to get any better without revenue increases. Pretending we can cut our way to prosperity is delusional but every attempt to increase revenue is met with whines from the people who are doing better than most. Laying off public workers, destroying unions, slashing school budgets, cutting Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare because we don’t have enough money while screaming that a tiny transaction tax is counterproductive is asinine. How productive is increasing the number of unemployed?

  58. Ben
    September 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

    This discussion remids me of the statement about the art of politics: taking money from those who do not vote for you and giving it to those that do. The simplistic plan to tax security transactions to rebuild our economy is odd. Now you claim that pubic agencies are cutting budgets which is true since most of them in California rode the wave of capital gains taxes during the dot com heyday. A more fair way of taxing is a consumption tax rather than an investment tax. Now let us look at a better way to fund our needed programs and not spend billions a week in Afganistan and just think of the cost for all those cruise missles in Libia. In the first day they fired 112 missles at the cost of $1.4 million each for a total of $156,800,000 in one day. Just think of the good that money would have done for the schools in California!
    The cost of the Afganistan and Iraq war is over $1.15 trillion dollars, that is trillion folks not billion. That is about $4,500 for every person in the US.

  59. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

    “A more fair way of taxing is a consumption tax” because it makes the poor pay an even higher percentage of their incomes than they are currently paying and exempts the rich from taxes on most of their income. I completely agree with cutting defense and war spending, but I was opposed to every war this country has fought in my lifetime. You?

  60. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

    If the stock market was really about investment rather than gambling I might agree with you Ben.

    I also agree with you on the cost of the wars. However, there are those of us that brought that up before we started into that. I don’t remember you being one of them.

    Did you leave out the cost of Iraq by mistake?

  61. Fact Checker
    September 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

    High Finance says:
    September 2, 2011 at 8:56 am

    “Did China adopt capitalist economy. If so when?”

    “1978, the opening door policy embraced the market economy. Since then China has been in the middle between capitalist and communist (socialist) economic idealism.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090607111133AADq2jg

    You can look for “facts” on Yahoo answers High Ball, but what you copied and pasted is someone’s opinion. The Fact of the matter is “Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit” and China does not meet this criteria. Back to 4th grade for you High Ball.

    “Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit”
    The “state” owns virtually everything in China. This does not meet the criteria for “privately owned”. And really No Class, China as a shining example of the greatness of Capitalism?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

  62. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

    China embraced capitalism with slave labor. What is that called again?

  63. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Slave labor capitalism?

  64. Fact Checker
    September 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    state owned enterprises (SOEs)

  65. High Finance
    September 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    PJ, the gas tax is supposed to pay for roads that the vehicles who pay the tax use. The special taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are “sin” taxes started in the old days & the justification was to pay for the damages those products caused society. Where sales taxes exist they apply to everybody and don’t single out any minority group.

    What exactly would the reason be for targeting people who invest and punish them ? Providing capital to businesses for expansion and creating new jobs ? Shouldn’t we encourage more of that ? Shouldn’t we encourage more people to save and not rely only on Social Security ?

    “Fact” Checker, you have been exposed again.

  66. Mitch
    September 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I believe the purpose of a small tax on Wall Street transactions is to attempt to make minute-by-minute computer-based trading slightly more expensive. This style of trading has zero to do with productive investment, much to do with attempts to game the system via microarbitrage.

    When a company has an IPO, it is getting capital from capital markets. That investment depends on a market existing for the resulting stock, so the stock market serves a purpose. Trading at a frequency of once per minute or less serves no purpose whatsoever.

  67. Fact Checker
    September 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    No facts to check, just more Fox (Fair & Balanced) opinion from High ball. What, exactly, would be the reason for PJ, me, and all the other Americans you hate to pay taxes? We do, but your free loading traitor friends on Wall Street have their friends in Congress create enough loopholes for them to drive their Hummers loaded with cash right on through. Since when is it the government’s job to “Providing capital to businesses for expansion and creating new jobs” via massive tax breaks? You sound like one of those State Owned Enterprise (SOEs) commie-capitalists.

  68. Fact Checker
    September 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    High Barf said: “Shouldn’t we encourage more people to save”

    What!?! More Americans should give their hard earned money to your scumbag buds on Wall Street?!? What a tool !!!!!

  69. Plain Jane
    September 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Using HiFi’s logic, the tax on Wall Street should be huge so they can pay for the damage they did to our economy.

  70. tra
    September 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Having read the discussion here, I think that perhaps the best approach might be a significantly smaller per-transaction tax, maybe .1 or .05% instead of .5% — something that would be large enough to discourage the kind of minute-by-minute trading that Mitch is describing at 12:43, but not so large as to fund manager and individual investors from carrying out ordinary trades. Seems like it wouldn’t take a very large per-transaction tax to discourage the minute-to-minute trades, since they’re making so many of them a day.

    On the other hand, on the revenue front, a much smaller per-transaction tax would obviously raise much less (particularly if it succeeds in disincentivizing the super-frequent traders as is intended). Which is fine by me, because for my part, I think it probably makes more sense to raise the revenue by getting rid of the capital gains loophole and just going ahead and taxing that income at (at least) the same rate as income that comes wages and salaries.

  71. TimH
    September 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I believe short term capital gains are taxed that way, tra.

  72. tra
    September 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Assuming you mean that short-term capital gains are (supposed to be) taxed as ordinary income whereas longer-term capital gains are given the preferential rate, you’re right, TimH:

    Short-term capital gains are taxed at the investor’s ordinary income tax rate, and are defined as investments held for a year or less before being sold. Long-term capital gains, which apply to assets held for more than one year, are taxed at a lower rate than short-term gains. In 2003, this rate was reduced to 15%…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_gains_tax_in_the_United_States

    Apparently there are also a number of ways investors can defer and reduce their capital gains taxes:

    The law allows for individuals to defer capital gains taxes with tax planning strategies such as the structured sale (ensured installment sale), charitable trust (CRT), installment sale, private annuity trust, and a 1031 exchange

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_gains_tax#United_States

  73. Mitch
    September 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Short term capital gains, if I understand correctly, are treated the same way as other income; for example, the income tax on $100 in short term capital gains is exactly the same as the income on $100 in wages. Of course, the wage-earner also pays the payroll tax, and the wage-earners employer also has to pay a payroll tax.

    Long term capital gains qualify for tax discounts, because, uh, I guess officially because it encourages long-term investment.

    Capital gains taxes are not the same thing as a tax on transactions, though. The tax on transactions is meant to stop parasites from gaming the capital investment system.

    Whether you believe in capitalism or not, most people who try can understand the reasons that computer-based constant trading on the stock markets should be discouraged. It is completely unnecessary to the operation of capital markets, and it also destabilizes them, endangering all investors.

  74. huh
    September 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I heard on Thom Hartman today that capital gains tax used to be 39& and is now 13&

  75. tra
    September 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Capital gains taxes are not the same thing as a tax on transactions, though. The tax on transactions is meant to stop parasites from gaming the capital investment system.

    I get that. What I’m saying is that it seems like you’d only need a very small per-transaction tax in order to disincentivize the kind of minute-by-minute computer trading that you were talking about upthread. I don’t think it would need to be anywhere near the proposed figure of .5% to change that behavior — it seems like that the .5% figure is what it is because at that rate it would also raise a bunch of revenue from ordinary stock trade transactions, not necessarily ones that were especially risky or parasitic.

    So I’m just saying that the per-transaction tax might work better if it was more narrowly tailored, as punitive tax aimed at reducing the kinds of non-productive, or overy-risky investments that have proven problematic.

  76. Mitch
    September 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    huh,

    Thom Hartmann is comparing apples and oranges. Here’s a summary:
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/2088.html

    tra,

    I don’t disagree.

  77. tra
    September 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    To those, like Hi Fi, who argue that by closing the capital gains loophole and taxing all capital gains at the same rate as the income tax on wages and salaries we would somehow be “punishing” those investors, I would point out that under the current system of a lower tax on (some) capital gains and a higher tax on wages and salaries, we are, by your logic, “punishing” wage and salary earners even more.

  78. The Big Picture
    September 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    If we had an informed electorate, they would be demanding a return to what was already proven to work.

    90% top tax rates on individuals, 38% on corporations.

    For over two decades, following WWII, this was considered a patriotic investment in producing the largest middle class and highest period of economic growth in U.S. history….

    ……until unbridled corporate greed and power circumvented U.S. child labor laws, environmental laws, reasonable Tariffs, and taxes.

    For millennium greed’s apologists have been deluded to think they will also benefit!

    Both are traitors.

  79. Mitch
    September 3, 2011 at 8:02 am

    With the internet, thousands of newspapers, and hundreds of cable news programs, the electorate needs to take some blame for “not being informed.”

    As has been the case throughout human history, hucksters are believed over truth-tellers because the hucksters make better promises and focus on telling their audience how nice it is. The hucksters assure the audience members they’ll never need to leave their comfort zone, while the truth-tellers often find themselves saying things like “there are limits.”

  80. Plain Jane
    September 3, 2011 at 8:21 am

    With the internet, thousands of newspapers and hundreds of cable news programs telling contradictory stories, a large percentage of the population is going to be misinformed. I can’t help but believe that’s a major cause for the chasm tearing this country apart.

  81. High Finance
    September 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

    The capital gains tax break was passed by Congress to encourage more people to invest. That is why the break only applies to investments held a year or more. It wasn’t to give “Traitor friends on Wall Street” (As one hysterical nutjob above said) a break but to benefit society as a whole.

    At one point I believe the break applied only to investments held for five years or more. Going back to that rule might be something worth exploring.

  82. tra
    September 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    At one point I believe the break applied only to investments held for five years or more. Going back to that rule might be something worth exploring.

    I think a lot of people who aren’t happy with the current rule might be open to maintaining some level of preferential treatment for long-term capital gains if the threshold was something like 5 years. Maybe not the full break they get now, but something substantial enough to incentivize investing over the long-term. Seems like the 5 year threshold might also reduce the degree to which various mechanisms are used to make the sale now but not count it until later in order to qualify for the break on “long-term” capital gains.

  83. The Big Picture
    September 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Mitch, when was the last time you read about America’s “imperial economy” outside Mother Jones magazine? Ever?

    With very few exceptions EVERY GD American media source and every private and public institution repeats the propaganda that we live in a world of plenty for the deserving….we’re bombarded by every conceivable effort to maintain harmony amid tyranny as illustrated by the “negative” label dutifully applied to every existing discomforting truth….”keeping it positive” has sustained that old zombie Horacio Alger.

    10% of university students vote and there’s no effort whatsoever by “academia” to address it…add that to the irrelevance of today’s media and you have the next best thing to conspiracy, ie, self-censorship that tolerates half the eligible voters not participating in elections. (Australia, at least, imposes a $50 fine for failure to vote).

    I give Americans credit for intuitively knowing that many things are fundamentally wrong, but, as long as our major institutions, political parties, academia, media, etc, continue to ignore issues relevant to average American family’s, the longer they delay their role in being historic catalysts for desperately needed change.

    If it’s not already too late.

  84. skippy
    September 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    ”My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
    (Warren Buffett, New York Times Op-Ed, August 14, 2011)

    I imagine this guy knows what he speaks of? Some surprising excerpts of Mr. Buffett’s factual observations:

    SOME OF US are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors…

    “…WHAT I PAID was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

    “…THE MEGA-RICH pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

    “BACK IN THE 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher… I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation…

    “IN 1992, THE TOP 400 (Americans) had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

    “…I WOULD LEAVE RATES for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

    ”BUT FOR THOSE making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

    For the NNU nurses and others: Warren Buffett knows far more than yours truly does.

  85. High Finance
    September 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Warren Buffett is a fraud and a hypocrite.

    He thinks he doesn’t pay enough taxes ? Nothing stops that blustering boob from writing out a check for $5 billion dollars today. He doesn’t. He has an entire tax accounting division working overtime to cut every dollar of his tax bill that they can.

    He is also a liar by ommission. He omits the facts behind why he only pays 17.4% Much of his income is in the form of dividends which are taxed at 15%. Dividends are not deductible by corporations who pay them out. Those corporations pay 35% federal income tax on those dividends. So that means Buffett’s dividend income is not taxed at 17.4% but at 52.4% !

    Also a lot of his income is capital gains. Congress decided years ago to encourage people to invest for the good of the country.

    Buffett loves publicity and those statements are easily made. But no members of the press will call him on his hypocrisy.

  86. Plain Jane
    September 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Buffett really upset the good ole boys by telling the truth about how unfair the tax rate are for the super rich. It’s laughable that anyone thinks the rich need low tax rates to invest their money. What are they going to do with it if they don’t invest it? Why does anyone want tax rates so low that people irrationally inflate the markets beyond any rational measure of their worth? How does that benefit anyone but the guy who sells just before the crash?

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