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Taxpayer Relief from Bailout

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     Anybody with their eyes open knew this market crash was coming a long time ago. See the cover story of the May 2006 Harper's Magazine, "The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse," 27 months ago. And Republicans and Democrats, the political enablers of the market meltdown  knew what to do to retard or deflate the bubble and make for a softer landing. But they didn't do it in order to await a panic crisis in which they could hurriedly pass legislation sticking taxpayers with the costs. Shades of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.
    But taxpayers don't have to lose any money permanently in the bailout. All elements of the financial sector, from little fraudster loan arrangers and appraisers through securitizers, through the security rating services colluded in this gigantic kiting scheme. It's fitting therefore that there be collective deterrence from it happening again.  A properly structured financial transaction tax ("Keynes tax") levied on all financial  institutions themselves, with a big reward for turning in evaders, could reduce short term speculative lending, trading and writing bad "securities." A narrower based (currency exchange) Tobin tax alone has been estimated as recovering to the Treasury up to $150 billion per year. The Keynes tax could recover money from the financial sector that spawned the market crash, while not being unduly burdensome to millions of small investors. The recovered money could be used to reduce or eliminate or reimburse taxpayers bailout funds. Inclusion of a Keynes tax should be required in bailout legislation. You won't see Repblicans and Democrats do it without pressuring them heavily!

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The author, born 1940, is a white male American retired college professor of philosophy raised as a secular Jew by professional parents. He is a long-time minor activist in the civil rights, anti-war, profeminism movements and taught critical (more...)

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