Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quote of the day

Le Monde:
Alors, taxer les banques ? Oui. Mais les idées les plus intéressantes sont aussi les plus difficiles à mettre en oeuvre.

Then, to tax the banks? Yes. But the most interesting ideas are also most difficult to implement.

That's an important part that goes missing in the talk of bank and financial taxation and regulation, and I've said it before -- you are trying to tax people whose job it is to transform wealth from one form to another. Tax one form, poof, it becomes another.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't try, but that a lot of people have this idea that we know what needs to be done and all that's missing is the political courage. Not quite true. There are proposals, but I haven't seen any without major flaws.

And then there's the whole Let's-reinstate-Glass-Steagall meme that drives me nuts because it doesn't make any sense if you think about the financial markets today. Does anybody with a brain really think an institutional arrangement from 1932 is the best way to deal with finance in the 21st century? Prima facie it seems unlikely. Nevertheless, I'm open to the idea. I'm just waiting for somebody to make a compelling case. Most people who use the words Glass-Steagall also seem to lack an understanding of the current financial system.


Withywindle said...

I would appoint Billy Mitchell to run the SEC.

The Ancient said...

Only if Curtis LeMay says no.

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