Monday, November 09, 2009
No, the story that caught my eye over the weekend was Gordon Brown, the British PM, arguing for a tax on "day-to-day financial transactions" and getting it thrown back in his face by just about everyone there. Even Tim Geithner. But the very best reply came from Jim Flaherty, the Canadian finance minister:
We are not in the business of raising taxes, we are in the business of lowering taxes in Canada. It is not an idea we would look at.Mr. Flaherty notes that his country has not had the financial experience of London or New York. He has regulated banks much more. Now I would argue regulation is a form of taxation, but still, if Mr. Flaherty says his government is "in the business of lowering taxes", roll me in maple syrup and call me Canadian.
Alas, while the "Tobin tax" idea might be scotched by everyone but the British, they still want to tax banks for their own cowardice in letting one fail. Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill that says, if you're identifying all these banks as too whatever to fail, how about you just break them up? Forget the sand in the gears -- Mr. Sanders wants to throw a spanner.