Green Room

Enough to make me want to move to Canada

posted at 11:37 am on November 9, 2009 by

No, no, not the health care vote this weekend in the House. That was all theater, after all; even the AP says the public option is dead, and it appears to have caused a major rift in the majority.

No, the story that caught my eye over the weekend was Gordon Brown, the British PM, arguing for a tax on “day-to-day financial transactions” and getting it thrown back in his face by just about everyone there. Even Tim Geithner. But the very best reply came from Jim Flaherty, the Canadian finance minister:

We are not in the business of raising taxes, we are in the business of lowering taxes in Canada. It is not an idea we would look at.

Mr. Flaherty notes that his country has not had the financial experience of London or New York. He has regulated banks much more. Now I would argue regulation is a form of taxation, but still, if Mr. Flaherty says his government is “in the business of lowering taxes”, roll me in maple syrup and call me Canadian.

Alas, while the “Tobin tax” idea might be scotched by everyone but the British, they still want to tax banks for their own cowardice in letting one fail. Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill that says, if you’re identifying all these banks as too whatever to fail, how about you just break them up? Forget the sand in the gears — Mr. Sanders wants to throw a spanner.

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Bernie is from VT–that should say it all.

jeanie on November 9, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Don’t be too hasty! Flaherty may say that, but my Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty is definitely in the business of raising taxes.

CityFish on November 9, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Sorry King…. The truth is lots of people across the political spectrum support the tax as well they should. Merchant houses received the lion’s share of all the bail outs and it is their high risk gambling which led to the disastrous employment numbers and deficits we currently face. The tax has not been formally rejected and the French conservatives (Sarkozy et Co.) along with Volcker and other conservatives (Germans and Swiss) support the notion that the banks should have to pay some of the funds back for the damage done to the global economy.

I understand why the Canadians are opposed. Their banks were under stricter rules and forbidden from indulging the risky activities which made fortunes on Wall St and the City. If anyone deserves an exemption it is them. There should be a reward for their prudence.

lexhamfox on November 9, 2009 at 11:09 PM

Aussie outback for me, where my closest contact is the Abo living 150 miles east of me. I’ll sit and throw popcorn at the unending stream of Obama “news” conferences.
“Come to the outback, where the men are men, and the sheep are nervous…”

docjohn52 on November 10, 2009 at 8:51 PM