Tuesday, February 02, 2010



""Neither bankers specifically nor corporations generally are popular right now. On Tuesday voters in Oregon , in the Pacific Northwest, voted to raise taxes on corporations and the rich. The measures romped through 54 percent to 46 percent, hiking taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and setting higher minimum taxes on corporations, with increased tax rates on upper-level profits. In Oregon, there hasn’t been this kind of popularly–sanctioned tax bite out of the backsides of the rich since the 1930s.

This sets the political stage for the November mid-term elections, and every politician sniffs the popular mood. Hence Obama’s belated dash to head the populist jacquerie. But there’s virtually no chance of any serious financial reform transpiring. Already, in dead of night, Wall Street lobbyists in December -- as reported by Andrew Cockburn here on this site -- crushed legislative language in a financial reform bill to ban Wall Street’s “dark markets” trading in over-the-counter derivatives such as credit default swaps. These were what impelled the financial crisis in 2008.

The bankers will resign themselves to a glancing blow like Obama’s proposed $30 billion levy. But they will surely fight off Paul Volcker, for months languishing in obscurity as head of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, until mustered last week to the president’s side to preside over the White House’s Great Leap Sideways into economic populism. He’s been assigned the task of promoting legislation that will haul the banks back into the Glass-Steagall era when the paltry sums in one’s checking account weren’t immediately securitized and packaged into a CDO squared. Already the Los Angeles Times – normally in Obama’s corner – has editorially savaged Volcker’s plan, as have the Washington Post and, needless to say, the Wall Street Journal."""

Peruse historical data on US tax rates: Bill Clinton slightly adjusted Reagan's slashes (back to like 40% or so), yet Clinton did not hike the rates on upper brackets back to even Nixon's level of 60+%.

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