Tax Law

Yankee Fans Give Wall Street a Bronx Cheer

Savvy politicians are instinctively anti-intellectual. To win elections, emotion trumps reason every time. That's why in their crafting of financial reforms, Washington types are more likely to pay attention to Yankee fans chanting "Wall Street sucks" than any in-depth report from financial regulators.


[T]here are some intellectual arguments for a stock transactions tax. But who cares? The tax has legs because politicians need money and they need to address voters' anger... But there is little chance the proposal is going anywhere--mostly because everybody agrees if it is imposed, all of the largest nations must agree to it. Still, it was good public relations for the candidate.

Even though interest in a stock transactions tax will fade from view, the emotion that motivates that interest will survive. Regulators around the world are trying to figure out who will pay for the next bailout. The politically correct answer: banks should pay and not the general public. Under orders from the G-20, the IMF will issue a report on this topic in April 2010. Revenue-starved governments are sure to pay a lot of attention...

View TaxAnalysts' Martin Sullivan's opinion in its entirety on