…Do not be embarrassed if you have to ask, What is a financial transaction tax (FTT)? I had to have had it explained to me, too.
Basically, it’s part of the well-the-Democrats-didn’t-quite-kill-the-economy-last-time-so-let’s-try-again ‘budget’ proposal (called, with no visible awareness of irony, the ‘Back to Work Budget’) set up by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Essentially, what they want to do is tax actual stock, bond, and derivative contracts transactions. Not the profits made on those transactions; the transactions themselves. As even a cursory glance at the previous link will reveal, Heritage is absolutely horrified at the idea, largely because a FTT would have horrific effects on profits. Including, say, profits acquired by pension funds – and, no, they didn’t carve out an exception for pension funds. And yes, this is an issue; Europe is going through its own version of this, and the Left over there is pretty adamant that pension funds not be exempted. Because the Left wants that money.
Shorter Moe Lane: remember the Stamp Act? Yeah, that’s what this is, more or less. Different system, different reasons, same basic idea.
All of this is problematical for, say, American coal miners, who are already watching their existing pensions and benefits be steadily if indirectly attacked by the American Left. It’s not too problematical, thankfully: a VTT itself is a non-starter in any Congress that you might name. Republicans hate the idea. Most Democrats hate the idea. Only progressive Democrats like the idea of instituting the 21st Century’s answer to the Stamp Act.
So then why did Nick Rahall vote for the Back to Work Budget? Given the number of coal workers already dependent on pensions that are already under fire from progressive anti-energy fanatics, you would think that Congressman Rahall would be interested in sparing the citizens of West Virginia’s Third District any more worries about their future. Assuming, of course, the Congressman still thinks that he represents the people of West Virginia, and not Big Green fundamentalist deep ecologists with deeper pockets.
Which is an open question, alas.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
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