Finally: A tax I would like, but which Congress would shun

See if you can follow me here:

1. CBS’s “60 Minutes” caused a stir with its report Sunday, based on a forthcoming book by Peter Schweizer, about members of Congress who may have traded stocks based on insider information to which they were privy because of their elected offices.

2. Many members of Congress are desperate to raise new revenues any way possible, in the name of stopping our borrowing binge.

3. Some of our politicians, and even more European leaders, are partial to the so-called Tobin Tax on financial transactions.

4. In light of the revolving door in Washington — in which politicians and their appointees leave public service and then cash in by lobbying or otherwise working for the companies they used to regulate — the law professor and proprietor of the Instapundit blog, Glenn Reynolds, has proposed “a 50 percent surtax on any earnings by political appointees in excess of their prior government salaries for the first five years after they leave office.”

Voila! How about a 50 percent tax on financial transactions by members of Congress and their staffs while they are with the government, and for five years thereafter?

Let them trade all they want on the knowledge they gain as public, ahem, servants. Just make sure that half of the proceeds go to the U.S. Treasury. Heck, this is one case where I’d be completely in favor of a deeply progressive tax: 50 percent for the first $10,000 profit; 60 percent for the next $90,000; 75 percent on the $250,000 after that; and 90 percent on everything above that.

We could call it the Insta-Tobin tax. Or the Nancy “You have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it (for me)” Pelosi Honorary Tax.

Either way works for me.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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87 comments Add your comment

arnold

November 15th, 2011
5:42 am

OK. For once in this lifetime, I’ll agree with you.

mike thompson

November 15th, 2011
6:03 am

In 68 years I’ve heard good ideas from Republicans. I can count them on one hand. Your article is one of those times I could cross party lines to vote yes.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

November 15th, 2011
6:09 am

Heh heh…OK Kyle.

Your tax is of a piece with the know-nothings who think we can make a dent in Obozo’s trillion-dollar deficits by cutting Congress’ pay and benefits.

[...] tax. – After the recent 60 Minutes story on insider trading by members of Congress, Kyle Wingfield has found a tax hikes he likes. – Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens believes that the Kelo decision wasn’t a [...]

Another Complication

November 15th, 2011
6:54 am

The problem with schemes like blind trusts is that they don’t work. Recall that in the early 90s when we were debating the first healthcare reform, Hillary Clinton, as part of the secret White House committee, announced that the reform would regulate drug prices. The overall value of the us pharmaceutical companies dropped by $4B. He “blind trust” administrator had, a few days before the announcement, shorted several drug stocks. Her trust made a profit on these trades of about $60,000.

Coming up with some further complication to the tax code to provide salve for those who have no access to information or power is a complete waste of time. The way to remove corruption is to remove the power.

DeborahinAthens

November 15th, 2011
6:58 am

Lil’ Barry, please stop calling the deficit Obama’s deficit. He cannot help it if a big part of the deficit are programs that must be paid for (somehow) . These are programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc. that have grown to monstrous proportions as the demands have grown because of the aging Boomers and the fact that the number of people living in poverty has grown because of loss of decent jobs because of NAFTA. Oh, let’s not forget two unfunded, off the books wars that have lasted for longer than our other major conflicts COMBINED and the largest entitlement program ever punched through an aiding and abetting Congress–Medicare Part D. Then there’s that nightmare useless and costly No Child Left Behind. Lil Barry, you do realize that those are all part of the deficit, don’t you? Because either you are stupid and you don’t know this, or you are like the radio talking heads that can’t gin up any real, reasonable reasons to fault this President at ever turn. He takes out ALL of the boogey men Dubya the Dumb and his puppet masters identified and failed to get, and all you bozos do is say…but…but..but…So when you are all going on your anti tax rants, remember, and remember well…Dubya the Dumb was told by his first two Treasury Secretaries, O’Neil and Snow that if he passed his Bush tax cuts we would have massive deficits. Dubya, being the mental lightweight he is and the conniving creep with an agenda fired them both and appointed Hank Paulson, a man who had run Goldman Sachs for fourteen years. But he was fine with the Bush tax cuts, especially since he and his cronies have benefited from them so mightily since 2003. So Lil Barry and Kyle, keep firing your pathetic arrows and slinging your mud. We out here know exactly who and what got us here, and it wasn’t President Obama.

Bill

November 15th, 2011
6:58 am

How about a tax on all stock transactions. Perhaps it would serve the economy and the public better if Wall Street facilitated investing instead of trading.

Ronin

November 15th, 2011
7:18 am

I like it. In many instances “public service” has become “self service” for political power and insider information. However, it has about as much chance of passing as tort reform.

I’m sure the Congress is going to give us the same medical benefits and retirement options they have.

I HOPE there is some CHANGE soon.

ByteMe

November 15th, 2011
7:22 am

Kyle, one more you might like:

A $0.01/share tax on all transactions involving “high frequency trading”… you know, the kind of trading the well-connected financial firms can make to arbitrage the market, but the rest of us have to use the “slow lane”.

melo

November 15th, 2011
7:27 am

all these financial problems are bush’s fault! Obama needs 4 more years to clean all this up!

Atticus Finch

November 15th, 2011
7:35 am

Interesting that the 60 Minutes report indicates members of both parties had questionable trades (as Kyle’s linked blog mentions) but the only politician called out by name in this article is Nancy Pelosi.
Why is that? And Kyle, how much would your new tax raise?

Really?

November 15th, 2011
7:43 am

Really? So if the x-congressman makes 300 million bucks in stocks the first year out because of such insider info (actually, according to the proposal, that doesn’t have to be proven), he still carries away 150 million with the 50%!!! Really? Not a solution to the insider trading nor to fixing the deficit. Stupid idea. Set up a small task force (there aren’t that many that leave each election year) and monitor their ass… find out if they have insider info etc and prosecute the crooks.

Obozonomics

November 15th, 2011
7:43 am

DeborahinAthens;

Boy your ignorance is showing like a laser beam, it IS Obozo’s debt, he has increased the deficit more than ALL other presidents combined!
“These are programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc. that have grown to monstrous proportions as the demands have grown because of the aging Boomers and the fact that the number of people living in poverty has grown because of loss of decent jobs because of NAFTA”
Again you should get some facts before you blare out the liberal lies, if Medicare and Medicare have grown to the proportions that you claim, in the last 2 years right? No other president had these issues, right? If they have grown so much and caused a deficit why are the taking 500 billion from those programs to spend elsewhere?
NAFTA and no child left behind, I agree with you both are mistakes, but where we differ is if they are so bad why didn’t the dimacrats take care of that when they had a super majority, or better yet why didn’t they pass a budget during that 2 years? Better yet why didn’t they do ANYTHING during that time, like BALANCE the BUDGET?
I am still confused as to why you even like Obozo, since he has kept ALL the Bush policies that you claim to hate him for, and even expanded on some…Even the Bush tax cuts, that liberals keep crying about, and kept them under a super majority? So if you understand what logic is, or deductive reasoning you should despise Obozo worse than Bush, right?
“We out here know exactly who and what got us here, and it wasn’t President Obama.”
Almost right, he is the one that is keeping us here and making it worse, and spending 4 times and much as Bush, so tell me again how Obozo is different from Bush?
The dimacrats count on blind elegance from the sheeple they wish to enslave. Thank you DeborahinAthens, for proving that point.

Really?

November 15th, 2011
7:45 am

Sorry, hit the send button too quickly. … It’s like me robbing a bank and then letting me keep half the money if I pay 50% taxes on it.

clem

November 15th, 2011
7:48 am

members in congress should have their assets over a certain limit placed in blind trust…

if not make them report net worth changes ie sources from salary, stocks, real estate, commodities on monthly basis

probably some staffers are doing the same thing….or selling info to hedge fund folks….

if working in DC and having home back in distric too costly, give them a housing allowance unless they somehow are already doing this…

why do they spend millions for a 200k job? doubt public service is #1 reason for many

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 15th, 2011
7:50 am

“Lil’ Barry, please stop calling the deficit Obama’s deficit.”
———–

He’s been in office three years and has done nothing to fix the deficit. He owns it, being the one who proposed these trillion dollar deficits.

Obozo: Failure.

Joe The Plumber too.

November 15th, 2011
7:51 am

debby, bless your blind little heart. urkle is toast, haven’t you heard? He gets to start his book tours and speaking engagements in Ja. 2013. Don’t worry though, I’m sure here will donate all proceeds to charity, he wouldn’t want to become part of the 1% would he? He might upset the druggies, sexual predators, convicts and thugs that make up the occupy something crowds.

Buzz G

November 15th, 2011
7:52 am

If you want to end the money laundering, you will also have to put a stop to labor unions feeding at the public trough and then sending the money to Democrats who give them more access to the public trough.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 15th, 2011
7:52 am

The last Republican Congress’ deficit was $160 billion. The next year, Pelosi/Reid took over. Big mistake, America.

killerj

November 15th, 2011
8:08 am

Dam,we need to give back our money to politicians? sorta like giving a condom to a high school student saying it,s alright but keep the baby.

Tea

November 15th, 2011
8:09 am

I rarely agree with you Kyle but this is a very good idea. Add it just goes to show that when we find ways to UNITE instead of divide Americans, that progress CAN be made. I bet both Tea Partiers and Occupiers could unite behind your idea. If they did, they could make things happen in 2012.

ByteMe

November 15th, 2011
8:09 am

He’s been in office three years and has done nothing to fix the deficit

A fool is someone who thinks the deficit is the most important problem to be solved RIGHT NOW.

These are the same idiots who would propose starvation as a way to “cure” anorexia.

jayone

November 15th, 2011
8:11 am

DeborahinAthens You are so right about this one. If the so called GOP would look at Dubya when he was in office you didnot see any writing about what he did. But soon as we get Obama in office they write about everything he has done to bring the man down. Not one penny has been spent to increase this defecit since he’s been in office. All of his plans and bills that haave been passed won’t be funded until 2013. So how it is that he has increased the defecit as of now.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 15th, 2011
8:13 am

OK, ByteMe, if we give your Idiot Obozo a pass on fixing his deficit, is it OK to hold him accountable for his 9% unemployment? I’m betting you have an excuse for that too.

Obozo: Failure.

clem

November 15th, 2011
8:21 am

yea, let’s see where we’d be with mccain in charge, wall st execs would be still be doing fine (phil gramm influence), another war or two unfunded, and america would be farther down the road to ruin ala rome….you repubs don’t know squat….trace the origins of the deficit to decisions per admininstration and most can be attributed to your side….

clem

November 15th, 2011
8:29 am

Aquagirl

November 15th, 2011
8:30 am

Can we include waterboarding somehow? And we could raise even more revenue from showing it on PPV.

Mudfoot

November 15th, 2011
8:44 am

Careful Kyle, Grover might put you on the blacklist

ragnar danneskjold

November 15th, 2011
8:45 am

Hilarious. I took Glenn Reynolds’s Admin Law class a couple of decades ago, he was a hoot even then (think I finished second or third in that class, truly a lot of fun.) Why the heck not? Has anyone calculated what would have been the tax on Jamie Gorelick (she of “wall of separation” fame for its role in 9/11, followed by her profitable service at FNMA, now insolvent.) She was a real two-fer.

carlosgvv

November 15th, 2011
8:52 am

Kyle, the Insta-Tobin may work for you, but if you think Congress will ever go anywhere near this, I have some good oil wells in Snellville I’ll be glad to sell to you. As for you, Barry, if you think any of those clowns running for the Republican nomination could actually do better than Obama, I’ll be happy to sell you some oil wells also.

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Brian Macker

November 15th, 2011
9:15 am

Why only half? Obviously these gains are mainly from the insider trading they are openly allowed to participate in. Everything above the rate of return they would get on the government suppressed interest rate they would earn in a savings account should be taxed at 100%

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
9:35 am

Great idea however I dont think that will ever happen. I am more for term limits.

Politi Cal

November 15th, 2011
9:43 am

Good, sound thinking. It’ll never pass. Incumbent Dems and Repubs both will hate it.

Jefferson

November 15th, 2011
9:45 am

The warchest $$$ should go to charity when a politician steps down.

Spinoza

November 15th, 2011
9:53 am

Anything this snot nosed, supercilious punk likes has to be bad.

jconservative

November 15th, 2011
9:56 am

A lot of incorrect statements are being made today. Here are some facts.

Here is the National Debt at the end of the Fiscal Year in the last 30 years since Reagan inaugrated (by decade to keep the list short).
Note that every budget was approved by Congress either as a budget or as a continuing resolution.
Every penny spent by each President was approved by Congress.

6/30/61…….288,970,938,610.
9/30/81…….997,855,000,000.
9/28/90….3,233,313,451,777.
9/30/00….5,674,178,209,887.
9/30/09..11,909,829,003,512.
(treasurydirect.gov)

Note that between the FY 6/30/1961 (Kennedy sworn in Jan 1961) the National Debt increased $709 billion for the 20 year period.
Note that between 9/30/81 (Carters last budget) and 9/28/90 (Bush 41’s first budget) that the national debt more than tripled. So what happened here?
Note that between 9/30/2000 (Clinton) and 9/30/2009 (Bush 43’s last budget) the national debt more than doubled.
Now Obama is in office and the 30 year trend continues. The latest national debt figure as of 11/10/2011 is $14,979,610,349,743., up $3 trillion for the period. (treasurydirect.gov)

It appears it does not matter which party occupies the White House. In the last 30 years the Republicans have had the White House 20 of the 30 years.

And as noted every penny has been approved by Congress. And Congress has been split between Dems and Repugs about 50 – 50.

Would a strong 3rd party be useful? Just asking.

Jimmy62

November 15th, 2011
9:56 am

ByteMe: Actually it’s more like someone who tells a fat person that they need to eat less, and eat healthier when they do eat. A much more apt analogy, and fitting because if you do tell a fat person that, the left will get mad at you for being insensitive.

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
9:59 am

jconservative….a strong third party. WHile the idea is nice, it will never float. The spending is controlled by the president and the House. Until the spending gets under control the number will continue to rise.

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
10:00 am

Jimmy62…I am sure Heavy D would agree.

Jimmy62

November 15th, 2011
10:02 am

UGA 1999: And if our country doesn’t learn to eat less (i.e. spend less), we’ll end up right where Heavy D is.

Rafe Hollister

November 15th, 2011
10:03 am

Kyle, I like this tax, but the bank robber scenario is right on as well. Better tax is to charge the wacko environmental groups 10% of the total revenue lost in delays that they cause frivolously. In turn if their efforts have an validity, we could put the tax on the developer.

We are taking too long to do anything in this country, aka: pipeline thru Nebraska. We do not seem to be able to complete anything on time and under budget, because of deliberate actions taken by the wacko environmentalist, the unions, the ACLU, etc.

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
10:04 am

Jimmy62… 1000000% agreed.

Kyle Wingfield

November 15th, 2011
10:10 am

Bill @ 6:58: You really think it “would serve the economy and the public better” if the bulk of stock transactions took place on exchanges outside the U.S.? Because that’s what would happen if instituted a tax on all stock transactions here.

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
10:10 am

Kyle, you are right. The NASDAQ would crash.

Kyle Wingfield

November 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Atticus: And my original piece about the “60 Minutes” report mentioned them all.

Kyle Wingfield

November 15th, 2011
10:12 am

Really: You really don’t have a sense of humor, do you?

Kyle Wingfield

November 15th, 2011
10:18 am

Folks, I suggest you don’t take the 50 percent “tax rate” mentioned here more seriously than it was intended. If you insist, may you be placated with the progressive structure I also “proposed.”

Not saying I don’t stand behind the general principle. But I put about 0.1 seconds of thought into the exact numbers, which I offered for illustrative purposes only.

Atticus Finch

November 15th, 2011
10:19 am

Kyle, I mentioned in my post that your original article pointed that out.

So a piece that mentions both parties and then a reference to it from a one-sided blog is fair?

UGA 1999

November 15th, 2011
10:20 am

Atticus….if you would like to see a one sided blog….go over to Bookmans garbage.