We Need a Wall Street Sales Tax

It’s time for Big Finance to pay its debt to society.

By Noah Streng

Over the course of the pandemic, Wall Street profits soared and billionaires increased their wealth by over $1.8 billion. Meanwhile, US job losses at the height of the crisis reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. With 1 in 8 households with children reporting not having enough to eat, the pandemic economy has devastated families across America.

We need massive investments in healthcare, infrastructure, education, and COVID-19 relief to rebuild our crumbling economy, centering the needs of working families. A Wall Street sales tax, or financial transaction tax (FTT), would raise enough revenue to provide this desperately needed COVID-19 relief. A mere 0.1% tax on Wall Street trades could raise $752 billion over 10 years, enough to pay for a decade of paid family and medical leave, free universal preschool, and providing two years of free community college; as well as high speed internet for all, wiping out all medical debt, and vaccinating the world. A Wall Street sales tax would also crack down on reckless, high-frequency trading which has turned our financial sector into a casino.

An open letter signed by 150 economists from across the world calls on G20 Finance Ministers to support FTT’s in their respective countries as the most moral and efficient way of rebuilding the world economy and getting much-needed COVID-19 relief to working families across the globe. Articles by The Guardian and Le Monde detail the extreme importance of this call to action by some of the world’s top economists. Through FTT’s, the world economy can become more resilient and generate revenue for the public investment we need to rebuild the global economy in a way which empowers those most affected by COVID-19.

Wall Street’s greed and recklessness crashed our economy nearly a decade ago. It was our taxpayer dollars that bailed them out. Now, at a time when millions of Americans are suffering and Wall Street is raking in record profits, it’s time for Wall Street to pay its debt to society. Congress must act to pass a progressive Wall Street Sales Tax and invest in working families.