Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 25, 2009 10:57 AM. The previous post in this blog was The other people. The next post in this blog is Fish on cops: "Please don't expect me to do anything". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The least they can do

America may be on the verge of getting a stock market transaction tax. It's about time. But get ready to hear the Wall Street weasels who stole our kids' future scream loud and long about it.

Comments (19)

Trial ballons are fun to watch.

I can't let this populist screed pass without comment.

The economy was artificially hyped -- so the kiddies never earned that last 20 to 30 percent to begin with.

Let's see, London, Frankfurt, or stick closer to home, Toronto, here I come.

Does anyone really think this would stabilize markets? Just think of how much higher transaction costs were, how much less liquid markets were and how much protection that bought on October 19, 1987.

Find anything you don't like, tax it, and good things will happen, of course. Then find things you do like, and subsidize them. And when folks respond to the taxes, subsidies and other government interventions blame them for being greedy. Go for it!

Let's call this what it is: populist garbage.

DeFazio is a moron, so I expect this from him, but I get really disappointed when people who should know better throw their weight behind it.

The average investor does not engage in "Wall Street gambling" or speculative trading, so this tax will be akin to hauling in a boatload of dolphins with the tuna nets in terms of effectiveness.

The only redeeming feature of the bill is the deficit-reduction aspect, but if it is bundled with a "jobs fund" provision, it becomes worthless. Didn't work too well for the Big 3, did it? The last thing Congress needs right now is another $75 billion slush fund. And the fact that it will be linked to the transportation bill reauthorization makes it even worse. It's not just "stimulus", it is a another long-term liability. Questions of mega-waste are beyond the pale.

Even those who are lured by opportunity to "stick it to Wall Street" have to be troubled by the amount of regulations and exemptions that are already in the proposal, even before it has gone through the sausage factory. It is an interest group's dream, but a taxpayer's nightmare.

Let's hope the American people grow up in the next couple years and move beyond being reeled in by simplistic slogans like the "Main Street/Wall Street" dichotomy. If they don't, they deserve all the manure that DeFazio and others can shovel on top of them.

"Find anything you don't like, tax it, and good things will happen, of course. Then find things you do like, and subsidize them. And when folks respond to the taxes, subsidies and other government interventions blame them for being greedy. Go for it!"

Well, Grady, your plan sounds a lot better than what we do now, which is tax the things we DO like (earnings, wages, investments, interest on savings, capital gains -- even unemployment insurance payments) while, at the same time, not taxing what we don't like -- non-productive computer-run arbitrage, pollution, hazardous waste, and consumption of non-renewable resources.

Given that people DO respond to incentives (as you suggest), we definitely SHOULD use Tobin taxes to take a tiny slice out of speculative trading. Since such trading creates no value (it's part of a zero-sum game) the revenue obtained is all to the good, and if anyone is discouraged from doing it, no harm done and they can find more productive ways to invest their money.

Trial balloons are fun to watch

Yes, they are. But they can too easily turn into Trojan horses.

If I remember correctly, DeFazio pitched the same kind of nonsense about six months ago when he suggested a tax on oil futures transactions in order to finance additional federal spending on transportation. The prospect (and illusion) of an economic and political free lunch was too much for him.

"Since such trading creates no value (it's part of a zero-sum game)"

incorrect - speculation provides liquidity and risk mitigation for long term investors.

trading creates no value (it's part of a zero-sum game)


Ok so instead of permitting people to buy and sell ownership interests and supply capital to productive and profitable enterprises, let's have the government direct capital allocation.

No value is created by bidding processes directing capital to its highest and best uses, is that what you think?

Then let's come up with a centralized 5-year plan and throw out those pernicious market forces.

The heck with Microsoft and Apple. Get those enterprises back into the garage. If Gates and Jobs couldn't finance the growth of those corporations out their own pockets or convince a government official to send along TARP funds, the heck with them.

Forget all those Nike Airs - we can go back to Chuck Taylors. Did we really need funds invested in all these different types of shoes, when one color and one size (hightops to boot) would do?

And forget all that capital that was directed to developing internal combustion engines that are about 100 percent more efficient and something like 90 percent cleaner in a generation.

We can replace this all with a system of grants and political directives that will do just fine.

And sure, let's tax people for the act of working, quite apart from whatever value is created by their endeavor. Those people who work -- let's tax them every time they arrive or leave from their place of employment and really stick it to them when they want to change jobs. Because, of course, it's stability that we want.

And its a back door way of getting into peoples pockets to get taxes out of IRA's, and 401K's (which are overwhelming invested in mutual funds that have relatively high turnovers on underlying assets) as well as hedge funds which are the investors of choice for many pension funds and nonprofit endowments.

That's quite a hyperbolic (not to mention hysterical) rhetorical leap, equating a minuscule tax proposal to Soviet central planning and the imminent death of Microsoft! But sadly not an unusual one for today's unhinged conservative movement.

Just a little perspective: The past three decades have witnessed the largest upward transfer of wealth in human history. Massive, exponential increases in worker productivity due to advancing technology and education -- coupled with stagnant (at best) wages -- where do you think all that money went? Surely it's about time a little of it started to trickle back down to those who actually did the work.

Hello!!! there was a stock transaction tax for years and years and years and it helped keep the constant big time trades from churning the markets, and made some $$$ for the government.
For those of us at the lower end of the market it is no big deal. Let's stop wanting something for nothing. We are all going to have to buck up and pay sooner or later. And the really big guys should pay more...a lot more.

"That's quite a hyperbolic (not to mention hysterical) rhetorical leap ..."

Go ahead, mention hysterical. Because it's true.

Mostly though, Grady Foster fail. Since the rant, there, is too complicated for Main Streeters.

TAX on Wall Street FAT CATS is simple, see? There's the votes. Rise UP DeFazio ... and Tobin.

those of us at the lower end of the market

I'm convinced that the ranters and whiners so in evidence here don't see themselves that way. Don't forget that, in polls, 17% of Americans consider themselves to be in the top 1% of economic strata. This makes Lake Wobegon (where all the children are above average) look like a center of self-effacement. Self-absorption is alive and thriving in America. Happy Thanksgiving.

The past three decades have witnessed the largest upward transfer of wealth in human history

Personal savings rates dropped from around 10% in the 70's, to 8% or so in the 80's, to an average of about 5% in the 90's and down to the 2 to 3 percent range earlier this decade. It's axiomatic that in order to build wealth one needs to save and invest. Borrowing and spending doesn't cut it. It's no wonder the ordinary consumer hasn't amassed much wealth. The populists ought to look in the mirror instead of reflexively blaming others.

Come to think about it, why not have the Feds tax every credit card transaction, mortgages, student loans, installment contracts and every other type of consumer credit that tanked during the meltdown? I mean, heck, let's make everyone savers and investors, and let's use the tax system to do it.

And while we're discouraging speculation and over leveraging, let's repeal the home mortgage interest deduction. With the way the tax law works now, the after tax cost of mortgage financing is approaching zero. Next year, when inflation returns, the real after tax cost will be negative.

That's quite a hyperbolic (not to mention hysterical) rhetorical leap, equating a minuscule tax proposal to Soviet central planning

In the first place I was responding to the actually hyperbolic comment that trading is a zero sum game. Secondly, I've seen this tax promoted as generating $150 billion in revenue, hardly miniscule.

Nice defense of the proposal by Paul Krugman.

And, Grady, I don't know whose comment declaring all trading to be zero sum, since what I applauded was a Tobin tax on, specifically, "speculative trading":

"Given that people DO respond to incentives (as you suggest), we definitely SHOULD use Tobin taxes to take a tiny slice out of speculative trading. Since such trading creates no value (it's part of a zero-sum game) the revenue obtained is all to the good, and if anyone is discouraged from doing it, no harm done and they can find more productive ways to invest their money."

And how do you define speculative trading? It's not possible. The idealistic long run that everyone seems to want to jump immediately to is nothing more than a series of short runs adding up. Am I a speculator today if I react to the news coming out of Dubai (which I probably will in the next day or two by buying, which is a market stabilizer) or am I a rational investor? Tobin knows not of what he speaks.

As for a tiny slice, based on my typical trade the DeFazio proposal would make it $1 dollar for Fidelity and $5 for the Feds. For the big guys I would guess the 5 to 1 Feds advantage over the value creator would be 25 to 1 or more. Horrible me, thinking that proportion counts and that those kinds of ratios are socialistic and not tiny.

The economists need to get empirical and into the world of finance as well as welfare economics.

As for Krugman, he is an outstanding statistician, an excellent mathemetician and a lousy economist. There aren't enough great leaders to justify an annual Nobel Peace Prize; there aren't enough great economists to award annual economics prizes.

I hope all had a happy Thanksgiving. And thanks to all for the opportunity for the argument.

Hopefully the greed mongers won't be able to bribe their way out of this, this is a great idea.

If there was ever something that deserved to be taxed its the casino called Wall Street.

Of course they will scream and holler,
Another boondoggle, it will take away jobs, and all the other claptrap.

What do you expect them to say?
These people couldn't care less if their neighbors starve to death, as long as they get more of everything.

Screw em!

"And how do you define speculative trading? It's not possible."

Do you mean that I might not be able to define it to YOUR satisfaction, since you've determined to oppose any restriction or tax on it? Well, I'd agree with that.

The rest of us, however, could create a practical definition for speculative trading fairly easily without impeding any actual commerce or reducing liquidity in the markets.

Speaking of "needs to get into the world of finance," Krugman is far from the only one who sees the dominance of finance capitalism over all other forms of investment as the root problem of our time. See Kevin Phillips's book "Bad Money" for just one very readable one.

The stock exchanges have long since stopped being the source for investment capital and are instead just the payout windows for the well-heeled. With program trading by computers --- including computers whose sole advantage is a microsecond's advance notice of other trades --- dominating the volume of trades these days, a quarter-percent tax on the value of shares traded seems like a great idea.

stock exhanges have NEVER been a source of capital - an exchange is a secondary market - The primary market is the source of capital.

Touche' on the secondary market point.

In the last couple of years, for example, more capital was raised for financial and real estate firms privately than through TARP. Little of that private capital could have been raised had it not been for the operation of secondary markets to support its value.

Oh yes, those mean computers. Rapid-fire computer programs have reduced bid/ask spreads to a penny or less, essentially taking out the middle man - almost peer to peer. The disappearance of the spread has done for the little guy what the big guys always could always do by trading among themselves. Let's hear it for "progressives" who want to put spreads back into the system and dial back market advances.

And I don't know how to respond to an argument that raising the cost of capital doesn't impede markets.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics