Robin Hood – now even employers back the tax
OK, only the Austrian employers seem to have come out in favour recently, but it’s a start, and their reasons for supporting a financial transactions tax (FTT) are worth others thinking about: they want an FTT rather than a bank levy because it would be more easy to pass the costs of the latter on to consumers (what economists call ‘incidence’). Meanwhile, EurActiv reports that the German finance minister has renewed his call for an EU FTT, and the Belgian EU Presidency, which began on 1 July, wants to table proposals soon.
Christopher Leitl, President of the Austrian Economy Chamber – and a member of the conservative Austrian party OVP – is calling for an FTT rather than a bank levy because they want to crack down on what Lord Turner called ‘socially useless’ activities such as speculative derivative trades. He told EurActiv online magazine:
“I am against pointing fingers but I think we should have a fair tax system that does not only rely on the real economy. …
“A bank levy is a bank customer levy. Those who invest and buy consumer goods and those who should urgently revive the economy will have to carry the burden. That is the wrong way of doing things.
“On the other hand a tax on financial transactions of a certain size – not your daily transfers on your account, but the big sums traded by speculators – should make a contribution to bring the economy back into balance or – as has been discussed on a European level – create a kind of European Monetary Fund.”
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday (2 July) that Berlin and Paris would call on the European Commission to submit proposals for a European financial market transaction tax.
“In the next few days I will together with my French colleague call upon the European Commission to submit proposals on a measure for a financial transaction tax.”
And the Belgian Presidency, which began on 1 July 2010 and lasts till the end of the year, is reported to have confirmed that it would be proposing an EU-wide financial transactions tax.