The leading edge of anti-austerity agitation must be the 1% Wall Street Sales Tax. The social safety net and public sector must be maintained. When the reactionaries ask how this can be paid for, the answer is in every case to Make Wall Street Pay!
The fiscal problems of the United States are largely due to the fact that Wall Street pays no taxes. While working families pay on average 7% in sales tax for the necessities of life, Wall Street speculators pay no tax on a yearly turnover of over $5 quadrillion (5,000 trillion dollars) in derivatives, futures, stocks, bonds and other securities on US exchanges. A 1% tax on this turnover, equally divided between the federal and state governments, largely solves the budget deficit at all levels of government. It also discourages the most dangerous forms of speculation, especially derivatives speculation, and helps to level the playing field between financial services – which are now in effect subsidized because they are not taxed – and the tangible, physical production of manufactured goods on which our economic survival depends.
A small federal tax on securities transfer was in effect until the Johnson administration. In New York State, a small transfer tax remains on the books, but the $20 to $30 billion yearly proceeds are being remitted to the zombie banks as a result of successful Wall Street extortion. The Wall Street sales tax is very much in the mainstream. HR-6411, introduced by Congressman Keith Ellison (MN), is gaining support in the US Congress and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has pledged to introduce such a bill in the US Senate. It has been nominally endorsed by the AFL-CIO, and has been vigorously supported by National Nurses United, one of the most militant and intelligent trade unions in the country, the International Metal Workers Federation, and other leading institutions.
In December, 2012, 11 member states of the European Union, including Germany and France, approved the European Union financial transaction tax (EU FTT), which will charge 0.1% on the sale of stocks and bonds, and 0.01% on derivatives. Opposition to this tax has been centered in Wall Street and the city of London.
- We demand a 1% tax paid by all US sellers of financial securities, including stocks, bonds, options, futures and derivatives, all of which must be traded and reported on open exchanges.
- The proceeds of this tax should be split between the federal and state governments to fund social obligations, public payrolls and pensions, and public infrastructure.
- Household-level investment must be protected with a $1 million yearly exemption. The 1% Wall Street Sales Tax is not a "wealth tax" but a sales tax directed at professional financial speculators.