“In Slate today, Matt Yglesias argues that anti-Wall Street populism is counterproductive, because it will cut Wall Street’s profits, leaving less tax revenue for the populist government, thereby hurting the populist cause. It’s worth pointing out briefly that this is incorrect.”
The quote above is from Gawker, I didn’t ‘linked’ it because I wanted to preserve the link to Slate.

 

I must confess I’m rather confused at this point. In Europe, where I live, ‘populism’ is a fake. Those who earn this moniker pretend to be working for the people while in reality catering for a vast host of special interests. So what does it mean ‘anti-Wall Street populism’? I went to Slate for enlightenment: “Suppose that President Warren rides to town with a raft of new legislation and tough regulators and a set of U.S. attorneys firmly dedicated to prosecuting financial wrongdoing with the utmost rigor. Well if it works, the pretax income of Wall Street types is going to plummet.”
But ‘prosecuting financial wrongdoing with the utmost rigor’ would be a good thing for almost everybody, no? And how come ‘the pretax income of Wall Street types is going to plummet.’? Wall Street profits are based on ‘financial wrongdoing’?!?

Reading a little further only added to my confusion: “By contrast the Tim Geithner philosophy—regulate Wall Street but don’t seek to transform it or displace the sector from its leading role in America’s political economy—is a great match for the politics of progressive taxation to finance public-sector social democracy.” So what is in reality ‘the Tim Geithner philosophy’ if its ‘contrast’ is ‘financial rigor’? Let them steal so they’ll generate more profit for us to tax? Who would be catering for the special interests in this case?

 

Now let’s see the ‘remedies’ proposed by Mr. Nolan in “No, the Populism Will Not Bankrupt Itself”.

 

1. “Perhaps the biggest reason of all to seek to cut down on Wall Street’s profits is the fact that those profits themselves are often little more than a tax on other people’s money, funneled into Wall Street’s pockets.”
What? Why should anybody try to “cut down” on anybody’s “profits”? What world are we living in? Any administration’s business is to maintain the rule of law and to preserve the ‘financial rigor’, not to ‘cut down on profits’! To confuse between these two is unpardonable!
And the fact that “these profits themselves are often little more than a tax on other people’s money” is something that has to be dealt with by dismantling the ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions in existence today and thus freeing the market, not by trying (how, by taxing them?!?) to curb the profits of the current financial behemoths…

2. “In a theoretical world in which a president actually enacted meaningful reform which reduced the financial sector’s share of earnings, the resulting business climate would be far more fair and far more accommodating to entrepreneurs and small business. In such a theoretical world, bumping taxes on the upper middle classes would not be such a terrifying thought.”
Again, why should a president be concerned about ‘the financial sector’s share of earnings’ instead of concentrating his/her efforts on insuring the real freedom of the market? OK, that freedom would include the dismantling of the current stranglehold that some of the people involved with the financial industry have over the rest of the economy but it would also imply a lot of other things. Including a fairer and more accommodating business environment and a fairer tax burden for everybody.

3. The last one beats them all: “Progressive taxation should be viewed as a tool to achieve a more economically just and fair and equal economy and society. Trying to preserve a less fair economy in order to better maintain progressive taxation is ass backwards.”
I agree with the last part but the first phrase really frightens me. Who can take it upon himself the responsibility to determine the fairness and the equality of the economy or those of the society? What are the standards for judging that? Who is so wise as to point to the rest of us where we should all go?

 

How about trying to open our eyes and to look further than our ideological noses? How about understanding that all we need is an economy that sustainably provides the people with what they need and a society that is able to maintain that economy in working order?

In other words a free economy and a responsible society.

In this conditions fairness will come along by itself while equality makes sense only when we speak about the opportunities to express one’s potential! And for good reason: ‘fair’ always works better than ‘crooked’ while creating effective opportunities for as many people as possible to develop their true potential is beneficial for the entire society, not only for each of  the individuals.

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