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SUNIL JAIN

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Will sales tax on every speculative trade at Wall Street be legit?

Though legal definition of ‘trade’ in US does not distinguish between Main Street and Wall Street, but for some reason tax policy does. Majority of the speculative trades at Wall Street are taxed only on the net gains (or losses), and no purchase or sales tax is collected from trade transactions. In contrast, Main Street trades are mostly double taxed - seller pays taxes on net gains/profits, and buyer pays taxes/surcharges on purchase in the same trade. For example, in 2010, in the double taxed GDP of about $14T, the Main Street in contributed >$300B to the states, plus >$200B to the federal coffers towards sales/excise/ other taxes/surcharges – versus – the Wall Street with annual trading ball parked at $650T contributed zero! So if every trade at wall street was taxed equally and fairly like the one on Main Street at an average 3%, will it be legitimate?

Every American wants Government to get their act together - create jobs, ensure social security, healthcare and education, reduce taxes, curtail government size and spending, and guarantee national security, etc. What most of us don't appreciate is that adequate profitability in the annual budget is a must to pay for all this, that we don't have. We have already borrowed quite a lot from rest of the world to the extent that our credit worthiness is on the decline.

Taxes and interest are the only sources of income to the US budget. Every penny that comes into the budget, goes back to public - it just changes hands. I find it insanely paradoxical that Congress talks about every patch work possible but forgets to touch the fundamental issue. Do we realize that from a long term over the years budget income paradigm, the overall capital gains (and losses) collected from the Wall Street are zero-sum!

What can Ted community do to change the behavior in America struggling for a top place in the 21st century global economy?

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  • Oct 9 2011: Sales tax on Wall street trades...interesting. Somehow we want people to invest in companies to spur the economy, we are interested in generating revenues for public services, and we want to police the market to prevent another meltdown.

    I do not think I would agree with taxing a private investor with cash that he wants to give to a company with the belief he will get a return on his investment. However, perhaps there should be a tax on speculative investments made by companies or individuals that have borrowed or otherwise leveraged assets to speculate more than just with a cash investment. I would favor a tax somehow related to the risk being taken. Perhaps this tax can be used to create a fund that underwrites some of the corporate financial risks that have the power to cripple our economy.