Susan Bysiewicz recently published her Accountability Plan, holding Wall Street and corporate special interests accountable for the economic mess in which we all currently find ourselves. In fact, Susan today characterize that mess as a “depression”, and not merely a recession. I agree with Susan Bysiewicz: this is not a recession but something along the lines of the Great Depression. Frankly, unless something is dramatically done in the very near future to change things in Washington, the middle class is in danger of disappearing in the United States in a matter of years.
Susan’s plan is simple, though well-researched and footnoted, detailed, and comprehensive. It consists of thirty-four pages of about a half dozen proposed reforms.
To hold Wall Street accountable for its part in precipitating this calamity on middle America, Bysiewicz advocates a transaction tax on all speculative security trades on Wall Street. This is not new: in fact, we had such a tax until the mid-1960s. Moreover, it is prevalent in the United Kingdom and in a number of countries in Europe. She asserts that it has not impaired the capital markets there nor did not previously do such in the United States when it was in place; rather, she argues that it mitigates the frenetic activity of the casino-like gambling inherent in the day trading of the big security firms, reducing investment risk by stabilizing security prices. Because of the trillions of trades on Wall Street every year, even though the tax is very tiny (which is why I dubbed it the “ttt” for tiny transaction tax), as low as .01% of the trade, Susan Bysiewicz estimates that its application would raise, at a minimum, $150 billion in additional tax revenues every year. Perhaps a lot more.
With those additional tax revenues, Bysiewicz proposes that the funds be used to refinance under water mortgages and assist in the initial financing of clean energy alternatives. Her proposal for the rescuing of homeowners in or near default is essentially the Homeownership Vesting Plan of Mark Zandi, a noted progressive economist. Mortgages would be refinanced at their current market values, with the revenues from the transaction tax subsidizing the differential between those values and the existing mortgage balances.
The other portion of the transaction tax revenues would be used to offset the initially higher utility rates from the purchase of clean energy alternatives by utilities until those costs decrease to those of fossil fuel energy costs.
The other major components of Susan Bysiewicz’s Accountability Plan include the following:
- Elimination of corporate tax loopholes and subsidies as well as the Bush tax cuts.
- Further restrictions on lobbying and lobbyists, and the overturn of the United Citizen’s decision.
- Immediate return of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and the closing of many bases in Europe and Japan.
- Immigration reform.
For a detailed discussion and critique of Susan Bysiewicz’s Accountability Plan, please see,