From Extraction to Empowerment: A Tiny Tax with Big (Broadband) Benefits

The other day I read a post by economist Dean Baker that got me thinking about an intriguing “what if.”

Baker made the point that “[a] very small tax on trades of stocks, options, credit default swaps and other derivative instruments could raise a vast amount of money.”  More specifically:

The Joint Tax Committee of Congress estimated that a tax of just 0.03 percent on each trade…would raise more than $350 billion over the first nine years that it is in place. 

“The great thing about this sort of tax, said Baker, “is that it would be born almost exclusively by the Wall Street crew,” or as I’d call them, “the great extractors” of wealth from the productive economy.  And it might also slow or even reverse the growth of some of Wall Street’s more pathological practices, including the ultra-high frequency trading that generates profits on thin margins applied to huge trading volumes, and tends to destabilize markets and accelerate the pace of wealth extraction.

As it turns out….the $350 billion figure cited by Baker is roughly what it might cost to bring extremely high-speed all-fiber networks to all or at least the vast majority of American homes and businesses, and to supplement the network deployment with training and application support to help maximize the networks’ economic benefits.

What this means is that a tiny .03 percent financial transaction tax, in addition to  tapping on the brakes of Wall Street’s out-of-control financial extraction machine, could turbocharge REAL economic growth by linking and empowering all Americans via ultra-fast symmetrical broadband networks.

A tiny tax with big, broad-based, broadband-powered benefits.  Makes a lot of sense to me….

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