Feb 18, 2020
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Michael Bloomberg Leans Left With Plan to Rein In Wall Street

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Some of Mr. Bloomberg’s other views on financial regulations have taken heat in recent days. He has had to defend comments he made in 2008 linking the financial crisis to the end of redlining, the discriminatory housing practice in which banks made it harder for people of color to borrow to buy a home.

In 2011, he said, “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

But as he seeks to shore up his argument as the choice for moderate Democrats in the 2020 race, Mr. Bloomberg has shifted gears.

As part of his Wall Street plan, he is now embracing a tax of 0.1 percent on all financial transactions, a position that he shares with fellow candidates Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and Pete Buttigieg, as well as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Last year, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored a bill in the House that called for such a tax.

The surcharge on trading, meant to raise money to pay for social programs like expanded health care coverage, has been roundly criticized by the sort of pro-business groups that Mr. Bloomberg had long been sympathetic to, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But Ms. Nagler, the campaign spokeswoman, argued that such a tax “is an effective and relatively painless way to raise more tax revenue from the wealthy,” citing its use in Britain and Hong Kong. A 2018 analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that a tax similar to the one proposed by Mr. Bloomberg would raise $777 billion over 10 years, albeit with a lot of uncertainty around “how much transactions would drop in response to a tax.” Any drop in trading would probably be bad for Bloomberg L.P., the company that feeds investors data and helps them arrange the buying and selling of securities.

Much of Mr. Bloomberg’s plan is an effort to bolster or restore elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law which, like the Volcker Rule, were reversed or reduced under President Trump. For example, Mr. Bloomberg proposes making stress tests for banks more stringent and reinstating the requirement to produce annual “living wills,” which are complex documents that detail how banks would unwind their operations in a bankruptcy.

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