A Tax Day Protest We Can All Get Behind

If you, like me, are scrambling to complete your taxes, and feeling a bit disgruntled about being taxed more than the big boys on Wall Street, Jobs with Justice has a great plan on how to work out your angst.

Jobs with Justice, the feisty union representing workers in 25 states, is calling for a Tax Wall Street Day of Action on April 15th.

”Big banks helped plunge the nation into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. They lobbied for deregulation and corporate tax breaks, then went on a reckless gambling spree, creating complicated, risky mechanisms to make profits off of destabilizing the economy. They have tightened lending for consumers and small business, and they have refused to modify home mortgages. Millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their retirement savings,” says a Jobs with Justice flyer.

Indeed, Americans have lost $14 trillion in wages, savings and housing wealth since the start of the financial crisis. According to our Wall Street Bailout Table, we are still $2 trillion in the hole for the bailout, and read with astonishment that the bailout enabled Wall Street to pay out $140 billion in bonuses in 2009 to top executives. With tax lawyers and accountants up the wazoo, big bankers know how to dodge taxes on their earnings and bonuses leaving middle class Americans holding the bag.

The solution? It’s time to take it back.

Jobs with Justice, SEIU, AFL-CIO and the broad coalition Americans for Financial Reform are all calling for a teeny tiny Bankster tax, 0.20 percent, on the sale or purchase of a share of stock, bonds or derivatives would allow us to recoup our losses and put the money to work rebuilding America. The idea is supported by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz as a way of dampening high-speed, high-stakes gambling on Wall Street and raising a steady stream of revenue. It was even touted at one time by President Obama’s chief economic adviser Larry Summers. A bill has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that uses the revenue to create jobs and reduce the deficit.

“Champagne, caviar, tell us where our good jobs are!”

You too can join the fun. Take action on April 15th at a local branch of a big (bailed out) national bank like Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo or Goldman Sachs. Get an easy-to-use action kit and learn more by visiting the Jobs with Justice site.

"Hey Wall Street, it's not fair, it's time for you to pay your share!"

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


There is TONS of information on how corporation and the rich DON'T pay their taxes AND shift their tax burden to everyone else. Example (from Aug. 2008): Just like the corporations they work for, multi-millionaire executives have become experts at accounting tricks to avoid paying taxes, according to a new study that builds on last month's Government Accountability Office report. The GAO said a majority of American and foreign companies doing business here pay no income tax. Now "Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay" shows how CEOs and other top executives shield huge portions of their income and stock options from tax obligations. The report was published this week by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy. For instance, unlimited deferred compensation accounts, a perk for CEOs at large companies, add up to $80.6 million a year in lost tax revenue. The median value of top executives' deferred payments is $4.5 million, according to Equilar, a pay analysis firm. Most of the rest of us, however, are limited to a maximum of $15,500 a year we can shield in a tax-deferred 401(k) account. The authors of the report say the tax loopholes make the huge and growing gap between worker and CEO pay even bigger. They say labor law reform, specifically the Employee Free Choice Act, is critical. "Without legislative action to allow more workers the right to organize, the divide between compensation for top executives and the rest of us will only continue to grow." ANOTHER example of MANY that can be cited: 7/1/2/05 from American Progess Action Fund: TAXES -- THE RICH GET RICHER AND OFF SCOT-FREE: The Internal Revenue Service's annual report on wealthy Americans found that the "number of affluent individuals and married couples who paid no federal income taxes jumped more than 15 percent in 2002." Additionally, the "chances of having a large income but not paying taxes on any of it are growing." The report also found that thousands of people from this group lived completely free of income tax to any government whatsoever and almost 83,000 of the high-income earners paid less in taxes for every dollar of income than the national average for all Americans.

This sounds familiar to the Tobin tax. http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/2101-Tax-The-Speculators.html <i>The most discussed and popular one is a simple sales tax on currency trades across borders. Called the Tobin Tax after its originator, the late James Tobin, a Nobel laureate economist at Yale University, 10 to 25 cents per hundred dollars of the huge amounts of dollars traded each day across bordered would produce from $100 to $300 billion per year.</i> ... <i>Pollin writes in the current issue of the estimable Boston Review: “A small tax on all financial-market transactions, comparable to a sales tax, would raise the costs on short-term speculative trading while having negligible effect on people who trade infrequently. It would thus discourage speculation and channel funds toward productive investment.”</i> <i>He adds that after the 1987 stock market crash, securities-trading taxes “or similar measures” were endorsed by then Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole and even the first President Bush. Professor Pollin estimates that a one-half of one percent tax would raise about $350 billion a year. That seems conservative. The Wall Street Journal once mentioned about $500 trillion in derivatives trades alone in 2008—the most speculative of transactions. A one tenth of one percent tax would raise $500 billion dollars a year, assuming that level of trading.</i>