www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Is Roberts on final lap? -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Democrat turned Brownback supporter -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Editor Bradlee; For it All, 'Thank You' -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Davis for governor -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Roberts a changed man -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Time to stay the course -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 5:07 PM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

More ed cuts coming -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Leiker is the answer -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Sun shining on schools? -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Airline a great addition -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Huelksamp: ideologue extraordinaire -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Empty anti-Wall Street rhetoric

Published on -10/25/2012, 4:15 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

All those political campaign ads flooding our airwaves are hitting on dozens of different targets. One particularly: Wall Street. Between mid-April and mid-September, Ad Age reports, $1 out of every $10 spent on campaign ads has blasted Wall Street bankers.

And these ads haven't just come from Democrats. The list of "big anti-Wall Street spenders" even includes the Republican National Committee.

Campaign strategists are placing these anti-Wall Street ads for an obvious reason. Wall Street's greed grab, they understand, has Americans angry and frustrated.

Last week brought still more cause for anger and frustration. New York's state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, revealed that average annual pay on Wall Street has shot up 16 percent over the last two years to $362,950.

And the gap between the pin-striped set and the rest of us is growing. Financial industry pay in New York is now running 5.3 times higher than pay in the rest of the private sector. In 1980, Wall Streeters only averaged twice the private-sector take-home.

The typical employee on Wall Street isn't, of course, making $362,950. The Street's secretaries don't earn anywhere near that lofty sum. But investment bankers and traders are making millions above it, and Wall Street's "greater concentration" of these "most highly compensated positions," as New York's comptroller puts it, wildly skews the overall average.

What are these "most highly compensated" doing to earn their millions? They run a casino. They take bets on stocks, currency, commodities and ever more exotic financial innovations.

On every bet, Wall Streeters take a cut, just like the "house" at any casino. And sometimes they even rig the game and place their own bets on the sure-winners they've created.

This incessant gambling hurts us all. Wall Street has placed our entire economy on a roller coaster. Crashes -- even Great Recessions -- become inevitable.

Most Americans have at least a vague sense of all this, and candidates are seeking to exploit this unease with all those anti-Wall Street campaign ads. But we don't need ads from candidates. We need commitments from them -- to rein in our economic casino.

How could these candidates start reining? They could enact what analysts call a financial transaction tax, a tiny levy on every "trade" -- every gamble -- that Wall Streeters take.

All other gamblers in the United States pay tax on their bets, except those in the financial industry. There's a tax on every $2 racetrack bet. But Wall Street wheeler-dealers who can routinely bet billions pay no taxes on their wagers.

This could soon change. A growing number of lawmakers in Congress are aiming to make the status quo less 1 percent-friendly. More than a dozen financial transaction tax bills are pending in Congress. The latest, just introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., would place a 0.5 percent tax on every stock trade and a somewhat smaller tax on every trade of bonds, derivatives, and currencies.

Wall Street movers and shakers, not surprisingly, are predicting economic doom should a financial transaction tax ever become law. Traders will merely, they argue, start trading abroad.

But if these traders should flee, they'll have a hard time outrunning financial transaction taxation. Eleven European nations -- led by France and Germany -- recently agreed to implement a tax on all trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives that will go into effect by 2014. This landmark victory for financial transaction taxation in Europe may give Ellison's bill substantial momentum. Some 130 organizations, part of a "Robin Hood tax" campaign, have already endorsed it.

These Robin Hood campaigners don't have a fraction of the cash spent so far on the 2012 election's anti-Wall Street ads. But they do now have powerful legislation to push -- and a determination to keep all those anti-Wall Street candidates honest.

OtherWords columnist Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies' weekly newsletter on excess and inequality.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos