Fiscal Policy

Why a Financial Transaction Tax Is a Bad Idea

<em>This article was originally posted on TabbForum <a href="http://tabbforum.com/opinions/associate-professor-university-of-alaska-anchorage">here</a></em> By Holly A. Bell Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich claims financial transaction taxes are simply sales taxes on Wall Street traders and won’t harm markets or cause capital to flee. Yet studies of FTTs in other countries show they harm Main Street and distort markets. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recently produced a snappy video about why financial transactions taxes (FTTs) as proposed by Bernie Sander’s on the campaign trail should be retained and turned into law. Unfortunately, his pithy presentation is wrought with inaccuracies. He begins by modifying the language of FTTs by shruggingly telling us it’s just a sales tax. We pay sales taxes on many things and it’s only “fair,” he claims, that anyone who sells a stock should pay a tax too. Yet it’s not exactly like a sales tax. For one thing, it’s not transparent. When you go

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