Thursday, June 10, 2010

A modest proposal...

Congress seems to be having a difficult time figuring out what to do about the synthetic securities market (i.e., "derivatives" - CDOs and other alphabet-soup "securities").

How 'bout something really simple?
Tax every transaction in synthetic securities at 50% (75%?).
Every time anyone buys one of these things, the sales price is taxed at 50% (75%?).
No - it won't make 'em go away, but it'll make 'em much less attractve as investments.

EVERYONE agrees that these financial products make NO contribution to the real economy - they just move $$$ around, without injecting those $$$ into any useful investments. They are ONLY "financial" instruments - designed to make $$$ without adding one cent to the real economy.
So - let's kill two birds with one stone: TAX 'EM!
Yep - you, Goldman-Sachs, can continue to underwrite these investments to your heart's content... BUT - every time you sell one of 'em, the proceeds get taxed! - at 50%... or (better yet) at 75%!
The U.S. Treasury takes in $$$, you continue business as usual.
It's a win-win solution!

... and it doesn't require our brilliant law-makers to do anything except change the tax-code! - They don't have to figure out how to 'regulate' anything!!!
If any given "security" isn't tied DIRECTLY to a tangible asset, it gets taxed at the increased rate. Bundled mortgages? - they're a BUNDLE, not tied to a specific tangible asset - tax it! Bundles of bundles? See above.
[Recall: during the initial TARP implementation, one of the issues was that NO ONE could assess (guess) the value of the "troubled assets" - this provides a convenient measuring stick: if you can't make an intelligent guess what an "asset" is really worth, it's pretty clear that it's NOT DIRECTLY TIED to anything tangible!... any and all transactions involving this "asset" WILL be taxed at the increased rate!]

Whaddaya think?

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