One by one, Western political leaders are coming to the conclusion that taxes on the banks need to rise. Last month, the UK proposed a 50% ‘super-tax’ on bonuses, on the grounds that “investment banks are making exceptional profits as a result of the intervention of government“.
At the time, the blog thought it spotted an emerging trend, even though the US administration was critical. And so it has proved. Today, President Obama has proposed a $90bn tax to recoup the costs of the bailout.
Even more interesting was his comment during the announcement that “What I say to (bank) executives is this: Instead of sending a phalanx of lobbyists to fight this proposal or employing an army of lawyers and accountants to help evade the fee, I suggest you might want to consider simply meeting your responsibilities.”
It is a long time since the blog last heard a Western politician, let alone a US politician, suggesting that investment banks were part of the problem, not the solution. Clearly, the zeitgeist is indeed changing.