— James Pethokoukis is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. —
I recent sent a few email questions to Nicole Gelinas, author of the phenomenal must-read, must-own After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington. Her answers were so thorough and valuable that I could not bring myself to cut them much. So I am running a question or two a day for the next several days. Enjoy!
Labor unions are balking at President Barack Obama’s move to pay for healthcare reform by taxing their gold-plated health benefits. So Democrats are considering also taxing investment income. Not only would that approach make reform more costly and potentially worsen the U.S. fiscal deficit, it could politically doom the whole plan.
The U.S. bank tax isn’t dead on arrival, amazingly. Congress, particularly the Senate, has been a graveyard for punitive financial reform. And banks are betting the new levy will suffer a similar fate. Don’t count it. A clever design, along with a determined White House push, means Wall Street may have to pay up. A few more points: