Tax experts, who discussed the possibilities before the president’s plan was disclosed, say all of the administration’s structural options, which include an income surtax, an excise tax, or a fee pegged on the value of assets or some other measure, are likely to be so porous that financial institutions would be able to sidestep most of them.
The proposal won’t include a tax on Wall Street bonuses or financial-services transactions.
Naked Capitalism is considerably more blunt.
Administration bank tax plan: An empty populist gesture by design?
The bailouts of a relatively small number of capital markets firms that have made themselves the providers of a crucial service, debt intermediation, and their stuffee AIG, constitute the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of man. There is ever reason to challenge the legitimacy of this operation and demand that restitution be made, and not of the limp-wristed “pay back the TARP” variety. But Obama is so unwilling to make demands that he won’t even insist that bank CEOs show up to meetings with him. So he’s certain to cave when we get to what bankers really care about, namely, their sovereign right to seize everything that is not nailed down.
But from where I sit this wouldn’t be happening if Blankfein and people like him hadn’t put Obama on the spot politically by babbling to reporters about how they’re doing “God’s work” and that sort of thing. Instead of acting contrite, these guys asked us all to take a big bite of blow-me sandwich. How’s that working out now, fellas?
So far, quite well. The banksters and Obama, peas in a pod. But there is that populist storm coming…