Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Sheriff in Town...

01:00 hours brainstorm...how to reform the financial sector:

1) repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; let's make sure that commercial banks are never again allowed to trade securities.
2) Ban all forms of derivatives. No exceptions.
3) All revenue from speculative trading is taxed at 90%.
4) All hedge fund revenue is taxed as normal income, NOT capital gains.
5) All bank and investment firm CEO compensation (cash and stocks) capped at $500,000 (any dollar above that amount is taxed at 100%).
6) Feds regulate lending:capital ratios for commercial banks; if that ratio falls below an agreed minimum, bank is charged a hefty daily fine for every day when that ratio is below the required level.
7) Enforce anti-trust laws and break up financial oligopolies. If it's "too big to fail", then it's "too big to exist"!
8) All members of all House and Senate banking and financial committees are banned from receiving any donations from the financial lobbying industry.
9) The Treasury Secretary can never be an ex-financial sector employee.

I'll think of more stuff later...


Anonymous said...

Agreed, governmet regulation has gone awry. Take that power out of the equation and let the free market live or die. Dude, Re-read Adam Smith! Government empowerment only leads to oppression.


M. Rondin de Fromage said...

I understand that this is off-the-cuff. But, credit goes to you for throwing it out there for the rest of us to tear apart: it's a good basis for discussion. Here are my thoughts:

1) Don't know enough about it to say.

2) Seems a little extreme. Ban all futures, options, etc? What if I want to lock in the price of heating oil for a season? That's a future. An insurance policy is a type of derivative contract.

3) How do you define speculative? Speed of trade? When does "I bought low and sold high?" become speculation?

4) I would be glad, as a first step, to just have the capital gains taxed as capital gains, and the normal income taxed as normal income. A "2 and 20" management fee sure looks like normal income to me, not capital gains.

5) I would gladly do away with all caps on CEO pay in exchange for a steeply progressive income tax like we had in the 1950s, with a top rate of about 70% on income over $10 million or so.

6) Don't know enough about this to say.

7) Agreed on "too big to fail." If a bank wants to get that big, then it should be operated as a highly regulated utility.

8) Probably unconstitutional. Again, I really think a straightforward progressive income tax with >20 brackets will render a lot of the lobbying moot.

9) Seems overbroad to me. What is the problem we're trying to solve here? A Treasury that is too close to a too-powerful financial industry? I think the way to approach it is to reduce the relative power of the financial industry.

Again, my compliments to you Sr. del Banco, for offering some reform ideas. I'll try to come up with a few of my own and post them separately.

Anonymous said...

As to your comment, M. Rondin de Fromage, I respect your intellect, but strongly disagree with your ideals. I suggest that you take a long hard look at the history of economic devolpment as it relates to human culture. I really don't want to go back through 9th grade "Western Civ" again. The experiment which you propose has been tried again and again,across the globe, always with the result of failure. The nature of a sentient being is to profligate. Right or wrong, your moral determination is misguided. So, there.

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