How ironic that the largest public industrial support system in U.S. history is going, not to railroads, energy, healthcare, or telecommunications, but to the financial industry.

The banks are now the nation's largest public utility. But what exactly is it that they produce? Debt, debt, debt in exciting new designer styles at discount prices. And what service do they provide? Concealing risk. Offloading the risk side of private speculations by the wealthiest citizens onto the taxpayer base, who are legally forced to pay.

In effect, the Global Banker Class are now acting rather like the Imperial Tax Farmers of the Roman Empire. They have received an imperial charter to indirectly collect taxes from the citizens under their official purview, with police and administrative assistance from the government.

Since the Banker Class do not actually seem to provide anything of social value and cannot support themselves in a free market, their industry should either be nationalized or made self-supporting. How self-supporting? We need an expanded version of the FDIC that creates a capital insurance risk pool entirely funded by a tax on all financial trades. If this reduces the volume and speed of trading, good! It would be hard for anyone to argue with a straight face now that high-volume rapid financial trading actually produces an efficient allocation of capital and risk.

If the bankers refuse to be nationalized or taxed on trades, then the government should remove their right to incorporate and make all financial traders personally responsible, in partnership, for their own debts. Perhaps Gitmo could then be reopened as a debtors' prison for anyone whose leveraged capital losses pass the $1 billion mark. After all, such massive losses offloaded onto taxpayers pose a very tangible to our national security.

— Nelson Alexander, New York City

No comments:

Blog Archive