Big Bank Lobby Threatens To ‘Employ The Grassroots’ If Bank Tax Gains Any Traction In Congress
President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal this week. While it is not expected to be passed into law, it is being used as a statement of Obama’s fiscal and political principles going into the election year.
Included in Obama’s proposal this year is a special tax on financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets. This bank tax would raise an estimated $61 billion in revenue if enacted. To many Americans, taxing these big banks is only fair. After all, their reckless behavior helped cause a recession that impoverished more than 60 million people and destroyed $50 trillion worth of global wealth. Of course, these same big banks then went on to be saved by the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars from the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) and trillions of dollars from the Federal Reserve. In many respects, a bank tax would simply involve the banks paying the American people back.
Yet the Big Banks don’t expect the tax to gain any traction. American Bankers Association executive vice president James Ballentine downplayed the tax and even threatened to mobilize Americans in an astroturf movement against it if it gains any traction:
Making a return appearance to the budget this year is a $61 billion tax on the largest financial institutions to offset the costs of the bank bailouts and Obama’s mortgage refinancing program. The so-called “bank tax” has made an appearance in the president’s last three budgets, said American Bankers Association executive vice president James Ballentine.
“It’s been a nonstarter the last couple years. I don’t expect there to be any movement by Congress to bring this up. If there is, we’ll
employ grassroots as necessary and go from there. We can only go on the history of how it’s been received and it’s not been received well,” he said. “If we get some sense of movement, we will act accordingly. We don’t plan to do anything aggressive at this point.