Leading Liberal Economist Endorses DeFazio’s Wall Street Transpo Tax

Few liberal-leaning economists have a higher profile in Washington than Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His critiques of the Obama administration’s Wall Street bailout as a glorified taxpayer subsidy have made Baker a must-read — as is his latest column for the Guardian.

Its headline is "Banks own the US government," but Baker’s real thesis is transportation-related: Rep. Pete DeFazio’s (D-OR) proposed 0.02 percent tax on oil speculation is an affordable, sensible way to rein in Wall Street while paying our infrastructure bills.

I’ll let Baker’s words take us out for the holiday weekend. Enjoy the Fourth, everyone …

This tax can best be thought of as a tax on gambling.
Gambling is heavily taxed in every state that allows it. DeFazio’s [plan] is effectively a tax on gambling in the oil markets. It will not stop
it, but it would discourage it, and in the process raise a huge amount
of money that could go to productive purposes.

… [I]t is important that
people know about the DeFazio bill. First, DeFazio deserves a place on
the honour roll for standing up to Wall Street.

Also, it is
important for the public to know that there is a relatively low-cost
way to make up the shortfall in the highway trust fund. When Congress
raises some other tax and/or cuts a useful programme, people should
know that there was a better alternative. It just didn’t happen
because, as we know, the banks own the place.


Pelosi: Passing a Wall Street Transport Tax Would Require Overseas Buy-in

Any proposal to fund new U.S. infrastructure investment by taxing financial transactions — such as Rep. Pete DeFazio’s (D-OR) bill taxing Wall Street oil speculators — would require international participation to prevent the trades in question from migrating overseas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: MoniqueMonicat) As House Democrats […]

Today’s Headlines

Massachusetts transit officials like the sound of the Obama administration’s pitch to help oversee light rail and subway safety (Globe) In addition to its transit safety push, the administration has also issued safety rules for motorcoach buses (Bloomberg) Even conservative Dems such as Sen. Ben Nelson (NE) are open to new transportation spending to help […]

Today’s Headlines

Pelosi explains why DeFazio’s Wall Street infrastructure tax is on the table: "The downside is always felt by the worker and the upside is always realized by those who never seem to take a loss …" (HuffPost) … meanwhile, the Speaker also signals openness to the "front-loaded" infrastructure proposal first floated by Durbin (Yglesias) Officials […]

The Case for Taxing Oil Before It Reaches the Pump

In the weeks leading up to the impending insolvency of America’s transportation funding source, members of Congress have come up with some truly outlandish ideas just to avoid raising the gas tax. Not all of the gas tax substitutes are as crazy as reducing postal delivery, however. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) has put forward an […]