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An Answer to Unemployment: A Jobs-for-All Bill | Commentary

We can put all Americas back to work under this legislation, with alternatives to austerity measures. HR 1000 is deficit-neutral. By imposing a modest financial transaction tax (FTT) on purchases and sales of securities, we would raise revenues projected to total between $110 billion and $220 billion annually. These funds would go into a dedicated trust fund to pay for job creation and job training. Similar transaction taxes are in place throughout the world, and just last year nearly a dozen more European countries adopted some type of FTT.

A thousand economists recently wrote G-20 finance ministers advocating for the adoption of similar FTT, exhibiting the growing consensus supporting these taxes. The federal government must act to put Americans back to work, and if the resistance is concern over increasing debt, instituting a FTT is the solution. It is time to recognize that the levies are so small and wealth in the markets so concentrated that it is only fair to ask Wall Street to pay its fair share to help put America back to work.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Philip L. Harvey is a professor of law and economics at Rutgers University.

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