Reign in the ‘recklessness of Wall Street:’ Bernie Sanders and Barbara Lee introduce financial transaction tax

"It is long past time for Congress to rein in the recklessness of Wall Street billionaires and build an economy that works for all Americans."

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Image Credit: Luke Thibault

Hundred of billions of transactions on Wall Street go tax-free each day. But with a small tax on Wall Street transactions – legislation that was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Barbara Lee on Wednesday – it will produce trillions in public revenue.

The Inclusive Prosperity Act “sets different rates on stocks, bonds, and derivatives based on the existing transaction costs in each market – 0.5 percent for stocks, 0.1 percent for bonds, and 0.005 for derivatives,” according to a statement issued by Sanders office.

“This more targeted approach roughly equalizes the increase in transaction costs across securities due to the tax and thus reduces the economic distortions and tax avoidance possibilities created by it.”

The legislation was introduced int he Senate by Sanders and Sen. Kirsten Gilligrand (D-N.Y.) and in the House by Lee, who is a Democrat representing California, and backed by many of her colleagues.

“Wall Street gets away with no taxes, even when conducting high-risk financial transactions,” Lee said. “This has to stop. It’s past time to make sure Wall Street pays their fair share so that we can provide funding for things that make us a better nation like jobs, housing, infrastructure, and college education.”

Many groups have also signed onto the measure including National Nurses United, Take on Wall Street, and Food and Water Watch, saying higher tax revenues “could be spent on social programs” along with providing a “sense of moral justice,” Common Dreams reported.

“The Inclusive Prosperity Act is essential,” Mitch Jones, Food and Water Watch’s Climate and Energy program director, said. “It’s a small tax on Wall Street to make big change on Main Street.”

Sanders said the legislation continues his fight for everyday Americans over the rich.

“It is long past time for Congress to rein in the recklessness of Wall Street billionaires and build an economy that works for all Americans,” said Sanders.