THE BLOG

Make Wall Street Pay, Not Main Street

03/15/2013 02:39 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2013

While Americans continue to be concerned about the economy and job creation, Washington continues to obsess about cuts, cuts, and more cuts. This has lead to the tragic irony of sequestration. Congressional inaction has lead to a policy which has forced layoffs and furloughs across the country, despite the clear fact that the American people want job creation, not job destruction. Even worse, while everyone inside the beltway has been enabling the Tea Party's politics of destruction, they're missing the solution that's staring them right in the face: Wall Street.

Just last week the Dow Jones reached its highest mark ever. That's right: ever. Never before has Wall Street made so much money. Four years after they caused the financial crisis, and sunk Main Street into The Great Recession, business is booming for the bankers, speculators and hedge fund managers of Wall Street. They thrive while the American people continue to suffer. Yet Washington continues to focus on cutting benefits that working families rely on -- like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- and leave Wall Street untouched. The hypocrisy is almost laughable.

Instead of looking for what to cut, Washington should be looking for ways we can continue to invest in our economy, and hold those who put us into this mess accountable. The solution that so many have missed? The Wall Street Speculation Tax.

The tax is a simple .03 percent tax - or 3 cents for every 100 dollars --imposed on high volume, high frequency trades made on Wall Street. It has little to no impact on an everyday trader like you and me. Where it really kicks in is in the computerized speculative trading, that makes thousands of transactions per second and helped tank our economy back in 2008. Remember the "flash crash?" That's the kind of trading I'm talking about.

The best part? In addition to discouraging economically unproductive and dangerous investment practices, the Wall Street Speculation Tax would bring in an addition $352 billion in revenue at little to no cost to the average American. In fact, for the average consumer this tax would only cost about $1.50 a month. We can make Wall Street work for Main Street, instead of the other way around.

What about that that $352 billion in new revenue? We can use that money to hire police officers and firefighters to make our communities safer. We can put that money towards offsetting sequester cuts that have put access to health care in rural communities in question and kicked 70,000 children out of the Head Start Program, which provides under-privileged children the early childhood education they need. Or we can use it to invest in building and rebuilding our country's infrastructure for the 21st century - restoring our roads and bridges, laying high speed rail lines, ,or expanding access to broadband internet service all across the the country. These are simulative effects. Money spent in this manner will compound its effect throughout the economy, effectively multiply itself, as opposed to having the wealth flow upwards and stick there.

This idea isn't new. America had such laws decades ago before they were repealed. In fact, 11 EU countries including France and Germany have such a tax and many global financial leaders are calling for one as an industry standard in markets across the globe.

With this tax, we hold the Wall Street Bankers accountable, all the while making our communities stronger. And that's why we're taking action.

Starting today, Democracy for America's million members are teaming up with the Wall Street Speculation Tax lead sponsors, Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, to build a coalition of support to make this bill a reality, but we're going need your help. It's up to you to tell Congress Tax Wall Street speculation and put Americans back to work.