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Taxing Wall St. would help jobs, deficit

Wall Street's "Charging Bull" statue

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Wall Street's taken a lot of rotten tomatoes lately for its role in the economic meltdown and for the bailouts and the bonuses. So it's no surprise that a group of lawmakers in Congress -- mainly liberal ones -- want to stick it to Wall Street to get some more money in the coffers to fund job growth and deficit reduction.

Marketplace's John Dimsdale is with us live this morning from our Washington Bureau. Good morning, John.

John Dimsdale: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So what do these Congressman have in mind?

Dimsdale: Well, the title of this draft bill pretty much says it all. It's called the "Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act of 2009." The idea is to tax stock trading -- options, futures, derivatives, trading, all of it. Supports say a quarter of a percentage point tax on trades would raise $150 billion a year for job programs and deficit reduction.

Chiotakis: So what kind of reaction is this getting?

Dimsdale: Well, there's a lot of concern that taxing trades would be a job killer, not a job creator, that discouraging stock trades would choke off productive investments. Columbia Business School Professor John Coffee says it would be a blow to big investment banks:

John Coffee: There is a certain inconsistency in bailing out these companies to save the economy and then turning around and taxing punitively their principle source of revenues.

Chiotakis: Hey John, how about in Congress? I mean, is this bill going to go anywhere?

Dimsdale: Well it's certainly not getting any support from lawmakers from New York or Chicago, because they worry that the trading business will just go overseas. So it really isn't moving much and probably won't this year.

Chiotakis: All right. Marketplace's John Dismdale, live with us from Washington. John, thanks.

Dimsdale: Thanks.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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