Hillary’s Financial Transaction Tax Is Clintonian Work Of Art

Flash boys are in the cross hairs, banks not so much.
By Lorie Shaull (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

The Bernie Bro or Volcker Vixen picking up the 2016 Democratic Party platform might see his or her heart skip a beat when they see the words “financial transaction tax on Wall Street” in the “Sticking It To The Fat Cats Financing My Campaign” section. “Finally!” They’ll say. “She’s going to really stick it to Goldman Sachs, which I am obsessed with over all of the other bad actors for reasons I cannot adequately explain!” Before cracking open a PBR in celebration, however, one should read the fine print, because the fine print is a masterwork of Third Way triangulation.

Clinton and her advisers propose taxing some high-frequency traders who spam markets with thousands of orders they later cancel. That levy would affect a comparatively small number of firms -- none of them household names -- and Clinton isn’t likely to expand it into a tax on all trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives, according to senior policy analysts familiar with her campaign.

That should play well out on the campaign trail, but its inevitably got some of those aforementioned Bernie Bros a little bummed.

“Those of us who’ve advocated for a tax on financial transactions have something much more encompassing in mind than a tax on canceled orders,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who said he’s in touch with Clinton’s campaign on the issue. “You can argue that this is a very narrow version.”

Whatever it’s been a bad week for HFT.

Clinton Aims Party’s ‘Wall Street’ Tax at Flash Boys, Not Banks [Bloomberg]