A financial transaction tax would help Wall Street work for Main Street, experts at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) argue in a new report.
In light of the Democratic Party endorsing a financial transaction tax in its platform, EPI's report details how much revenue such a policy could raise, putting the figure anywhere between $110 billion to $403 billion annually.
The tax would impose a small levy on trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial transactions.
While the Bond Buyer's Midwest Municipal Market Conference was being held Tuesday at the InterContinental Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue, over a dozen Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members and their allies protested outside the event this morning.
Holding signs reading, "CPS: Broke on Purpose," the education activists were there to highlight controversial financial deals the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has with banks and to call for fair-share revenue options to help tackle the school district's pressing fiscal issues.
Those at the protest, spearheaded by the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), marched in a circle chanting, "Fat cats profit and kids come last. Who pays taxes? The working class."
"There's been numerous long-term financial deals, bond deals, swap deals that have put CPS under a heavy burden of debt," explained CTU organizer Martin Ritter. "They've got bad financial advisers. Many of them are at this conference."
EPI research associate Thomas Palley wrote the report, which also serves as a primer on the how the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, works and offers a blueprint on how to make monetary policy more "job- and wage-friendly."
Over the three decades prior to the Great Recession, Palley says the Fed, the central bank of the United States, "consistently took care of Wall Street first while not caring much about Main Street."
"Since the Great Recession, there has been some shift toward helping ordinary Americans, but even more is needed, and we fervently hope that [Fed] Chair [Janet] Yellen sees this," said Palley, who also serves as AFL-CIO's senior economic policy adviser.
Chicago Board of Education members got grilled over the district's questionable bond deals at a raucous school board meeting Wednesday evening.
It was the first school board meeting since the Chicago Tribunepublished a series of reports on the schools district's controversial borrowing decisions. The newspaper's analysis showed that between 2003 and 2007, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) entered into auction-rate bond and interest-rate swap agreements with financial institutions that could cost at least $100 million more over the life of the contracts than traditional borrowing methods would have.
In light of the Tribune's investigation, mayoral candidate Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who attended the school board meeting, introduced a city council resolution last week with his Progressive Reform Caucus colleagues demanding hearings into the "current borrowing practices of the Chicago Public Schools." The council's education committee is expected to hold a hearing on the matter, though a date has yet to be determined.
"We closed over 50 schools supposedly to help save the budget, but meanwhile we lost more than $100 million gambling on Wall Street," Fioretti said at the school board meeting, held at George Westinghouse College Preparatory High School. "That's $100 million that could have been used to save some of these schools, pay our teachers, provide resources to our struggling schools and more."