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Proposal Calls for Tax on Financial Transactions to Curb High Speed Traders

A bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers and aimed at high frequency trading would impose a 0.1% tax on certain purchases of stocks, derivatives and other financial transactions. “Over the last decade, Wall Street has made record profits from high-risk trades that have made the market dangerously volatile, while doing nothing to add real value to our economy or raise wages for workers,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii in a statement. “My bill will help discourage this kind of risky, volume-based trading and bring in billions in new revenue.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the bill is unlikely to become law this year but is part of progressive Democrats’ larger agenda as they construct policy proposals for the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns. The WSJ report, using estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation, said that the 0.1% tax would raise $777 billion for the government over a decade. The WSJ report referred to research that predicts the top 1% of households would pay 40% of the new taxes because they disproportionately own assets that would fall in value. Tax and other lobbying groups agreed that the tax would affect all investors and not just high frequency traders. Brian Graff, CEO of the American Retirement Association, said in a release the tax could reduce an American’s retirement savings by as much as 3% over their working life. The Investment Company Institute estimates that the tax would have the same effect as raising the average 401(k) plan expense ratio for equity mutual funds by 31%, according to the WSJ.

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