I attended a demonstration for the Wall Street sales tax at Nancy Pelosi's office, one of about 20 nationwide, today and this was the response I got when I asked our representatives what they heard from her staff after their meeting. The deficit is a problem but by no means the biggest or most urgent one facing our country. Securing the social safety net and addressing the rampant, cancerous inequality in our economy are bigger and more urgent needs to be sure. The Wall Street sales tax actually accomplishes all three goals at once.
This president has been very clear that tax rates for the top 2 per cent will go up and I believe him. What I'm not so sure of is what he will give in order to get that on which he won't compromise. It is becoming increasingly clear that Republicans will concede on individual tax rates but the debt ceiling still looms and they have not hidden the fact that they intend to retake that hostage. I heard someone on MSNBC tonight say that sanity was the president's leverage in that negotiation. We're counting on sanity to save us from this GOP? That's like trying to bid at an auction with Confederate money, it holds no currency. President Obama has said he "won't play that game" when they (inevitably) move to hold the debt ceiling hostage, but what does that mean?
The country would be best served if Democrats came to the fiscal negotiations putting a Wall Street sales tax squarely on the table. It's great that the White House didn't begin this process by starting out with concessions as has been the usual pattern through the first term. It would be more appropriate though to start with actual solutions that have the benefit of pleasing one's base as well as getting the job done. Let's then hear the president say that if the GOP will release the debt ceiling hostage he will consider a 0.5 per cent Wall Street tax instead of a full per cent.
Rep. Ellison has proposed legislation to enact the Wall Street sales tax but discussion of this issue in the mainstream is far too scant. Democratic leaders are simply not stepping up in the way they sorely need to do. Ellison's bill has its flaws, it is in fact only a 0.5 per cent tax and actually goes less on derivatives which are typically so parasitic in nature they should probably be taxed more. However, right now the biggest problem with the bill is the lack of caucus members willing to sign on to it. FDR once famously told a liberal group lobbying him "you've convinced me, now make me do it." I guess that's what Congressional Democrats and this president are waiting for. To no surprise, the MSM is no help on this. It is with that in mind that I write this. I see this as the most important first step our government can take at this point in our history. There are many critical things that should get done but the progressive agenda begins with this.
I lack a lot of tech savvy and a diary like this really needs a link (or several that I can think of). To that end I want to leave with this link attempt to a diary from a few days ago here.