March 13, 2013

Public Citizen Applauds Congressional Progressive Caucus for Including Financial Speculation Taxes in ‘Back to Work’ Budget Plan

Statement of Micah Hauptman, Financial Policy Counsel, Public Citizen

The Congressional Progressive Caucus released its “Back to Work” budget today, and we commend the caucus for including a modest sales tax on Wall Street trading.

Financial speculation taxes can raise substantial revenue to counteract devastating spending cuts. The automatic, across-the-board “sequestration” cuts began to take effect two weeks ago. And while most people have not experienced the disastrous consequences of these cuts, it is likely that they will shortly, as funding to emergency response and disaster relief programs are slashed, food inspections are reduced and public safety is compromised.

Our nation’s financial security in particular will be at risk. First, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is tasked with protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation, will take a $74 million hit. Second, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, whose mission is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, abusive practices and systemic risk related to derivatives, will see its budget reduced by $11 million.

Our policymakers must consider ways to counteract what promises to be devastating cuts while also protecting the middle class. Raising additional revenue by implementing financial speculation taxes is an eminently practical way to do just that.