Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Casino

"Many investors have bet against Greece, using billions of dollars in complex financial instruments, called derivatives, that turn a profit when there is a debt default." NYT Oct 28, 2011
This is immoral and absurd. No one should be able get rich betting against a sovereign nation.


Nat said...
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Nat said...

Perhaps it is immoral, but rather than outlawing this behavior, perhaps we should allow it, regulate it, and tax it. In this case, perhaps every transaction ought to be taxed as some tiny percentage rate, and every payout ought to be taxed at the capital gains rate. (I hesitate to mention capital gains, because there seems to be an inconsistency in singling out one type of income (unearned by wealthy folks) from another type of income (the kind that regular folks make), and having different tax rates for different sources of income.) So let's allow creative financial folks to make up new, complex instruments, but pay a tax for the right to use these instruments. Their creativity will always be put to the task of avoiding the taxes, but the law can be written broad enough, and the tax rate low enough, to make somewhat honest creatures out of them