By Dave Lindorff
The Democrats are showing their true colors now that they have lost control of both houses of Congress.
Suddenly, with the assurance that they don't have to worry about being taken seriously, the "party of the people" has come forward with a proposal to levy a 0.1% tax on short-term stock trades, particularly on high speed trading.
Don't get me wrong. A stock-trade tax is a great, and long-overdue idea. In fact, such a tax, which could raise some $800 billion in revenue over a decade, should probably be bigger than just 0.1%, and targeted more directly at high speed trading. (Most experts agree high-speed trading has been undermining any semblance of a fair market for stocks and bonds by handing an outsized advantage to companies that have access to huge computers that can make enormous trades, front-running other investors by getting into and out of the market in microseconds, so why not levy a graduated trading tax that is progressively higher the shorter the time period an investment is held?)
The point is that this trading tax is something that progressives have been calling for now for years, if not longer, but while they were in a position to actually make it happen, Democrats in Congress were silent about it.
Now though, with Republicans, who are dead-set against a tax on stock trading, in control of Congress so that there is no chance of passage, the Democrats as a party are calling for it, with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) planning to introduce the measure this week as part of an ironically named "action plan" to combat income inequality which would also include a measure to cut $2000 in income taxes for families earning less than $200,000 a year, and to more nearly triple the child care credit.
If the Democrats had passed such measures back when they had the White House and both Houses of Congress, back in 2009 or 2010, they wouldn't be looking at a Republican Congress today. If they'd proposed such measures last year, when they still at least controlled the Senate, they wouldn't have lost the Senate last November.
But of course, if they had made these proposals when there was a chance of them becoming law, the Democrats in Congress would have lost all the fat campaign donations and other legal bribes that they receive from Wall Street banks, brokerages and hedgefunds.