The Financial Transaction Tax

An Old Solution to a New Problem

October 8, 2015 — A modest financial transaction tax was in place throughout much of the 20th century. In the tax's final years, from 1959 to 1965, stock transfers were taxed at 0.04 percent (4 cents per $100), a level similar to modest proposals that have been put forth in Congress in recent years. The economy functioned well the waning years of the legacy FTT, growing at an average of 5 percent annually. If the tax had been kept in place, it would have generated nearly $400 billion since 1965, a Public Citizen report shows. If the tax were reinstituted, it would likely dampen trading strategies that are of dubious social value and would yield revenue to invest in the public good.