Community leaders recently gathered outside of the New York Stock Exchange to protest a projected $143 million in bonuses for Wall Street executives, while the local and national economy continues to struggle. That same day, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) joined a coalition of groups in releasing a report detailing some of the ways in which these millions of dollars in bonuses could be reinvested to help revitalize our economy.
The report, entitled Big Banks, Bonus Bonanza, reveals that banks received $17 trillion in bailouts and other forms of assistance from American taxpayers. Its authors argue that if Wall Street reinvested the $143 billion back into the economy, it could create 3.6 million new jobs, or fill the deficits of all 50 states combined. Click here for more on the report.
According to a recent poll, 70% of Americans support banning Wall Street bonuses, in a context of high unemployment and budget cuts to social services at the local and state levels. Even among Republicans, whose party leaders typically oppose regulation on business, 76% support a bonus ban. One in six respondents also support a 50% tax on bonuses over $400,000.
Meanwhile, a recent New York Times editorial endorsed a proposal for states to tax wealthy residents on the windfall they will earn as a result of the Congress’ failure to roll back the Bush-era tax cuts. The Progressive Caucus has been promoting a similar proposal at the New York State and City levels.
This coming year, our office and the Progressive Caucus will redouble our efforts to begin to reverse the tide of inequality which is only becoming greater in New York City and beyond, by continuing to advocate for fair share tax reforms, while fighting the crippling budget cuts being proposed by the Bloomberg administration.
What do you think of the record bonuses being taken in by Wall Street executives?