The Robin Hood Tax, properly called the Tobin Tax, is being resurrected by two Democrats to raise money under the guise of helping to stimulate the economy.
In a burst of uninformed enthusiasm, William La Jeunesse, writing for Fox News, announced that the bill offered by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) — the “Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act” — was the Robin Hood tax.
If he knew better, La Jeunesse would have called it by its correct name: the Tobin Tax, first offered 40 years ago by a Keynesian economist, following the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement when President Nixon took the United States off the gold standard. That bit of information would no doubt have helped to curb his enthusiasm.
La Jeunesse wrote:
The measure would impose a tiny three-hundredths-of-a-penny tax on financial trades. Supporters say the bill would cost the average investor just $1 per year, but could raise up to $35 billion annually.
This painless way of extracting funds from its owners would then allow further spending to stimulate the economy, according to DeFazio:
It’s .03 percent. But it will still generate about $35 billion a year in income — income that could be used to rebuild the real economy, infrastructure [and make] other investments.
Any proposal to increase taxes, direct or indirect (the Tobin tax qualifies as an indirect tax), can be examined at least three ways. Who is proposing it and what is his agenda? Who has analyzed its impact impartially and has the intestinal fortitude to tell the truth about the bill? And are taxes in general moral, and indirect taxes specifically?
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