Of course we need a tax on speculative financial transactions. It’s all done by superfast computers controlled — not by humans — but by artificial intelligence that uses mathematical algorithms to search out millions of prices at lightening speeds, and place bets automatically. Transaction times are measured in milliseconds, done by global networks of trading robots that never sleep and whose sole function is to allow the wealthiest speculators to skim quick profits out of our markets, and also allow them to manipulate everything from stock prices to oil prices. This is socially useless, predatory, dangerous and ridiculous, yet these high-frequency traders account for 70 percent of one year’s trading.
We pay a tax on a bicycle purchase, but the high-frequency trader pays no tax on his, let say, $10 million worth of corporate stock, $10 million of oil futures and $10 million of Goldman Sachs package of derivatives. The prices may fluctuate by only pennies, but they’ve bet in such volume that they make a killing, without creating anything for the real economy. These are the speculators who wrecked the country’s economy.
A just transaction tax will provide money for our education and infrastructure.