Monday, December 7, 2009

American democracy in action--the trader tax

Like many of you, I contacted my senators and representative about the trader tax, using the form letter provided on many websites. I heard nothing from my representative, but since she was one of the co-sponsors of the original DeFazio bill I didn't expect an answer. Here is what Joe Lieberman wrote.

Dear Ms. Jubin:
Thank you for contacting me in support of an extension of unemployment benefits. I am pleased to hear from you on this issue.
As you know, Congress, with my support, passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5). This legislation extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, which provides federal funds for an additional 20 weeks of unemployment compensation to all qualified job seekers and an additional 13 weeks of benefits in states, like Connecticut, with high unemployment. The EUC08 program was originally scheduled to expire on December 26, 2009.
Despite efforts to restore economic growth, unemployment continues to rise and currently is above ten percent. Although Connecticut's unemployment rate is slightly below the national average at 8.4 percent, it is my belief that we must continue to support programs to assist families, small businesses, and communities through these tough economic times.
To that end, I am pleased to inform you that I strongly supported the Worker, Home Ownership, and Business Assistance Act (P.L. 111-92). This Act allows recipients of unemployment compensation benefits whose benefits have expired or are about to expire an additional 14 weeks of benefits. Plus, if Connecticut's unemployment rate rises above 8.5 percent, qualified residents may receive another six weeks of unemployment benefits. This legislation also includes several other provisions to spur job creation, including an extension of the first-time home buyer's tax credit, extension of the net operating loss carry back deduction for small businesses, and expansion of the net operating loss carry back deduction to businesses and firms with gross receipts greater than $15 million. President Obama signed this legislation into law on November 6, 2009.
I will continue to support efforts to ensure that Congress is considering policies that provide an adequate safety net for workers who have lost their jobs and increase economic productivity and job creation. Please be assured that I will keep your specific views in mind as Congress continues to debate ways to spur economic growth.
Thank you again for sharing your views and concerns with me. I hope you will continue to visit my website at for updated news about my work on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.
Joseph I. Lieberman

Oh well, perhaps if I'm concerned about the proposed transaction tax I also care about the extension of unemployment benefits. Or perhaps his staff is just proactive: if Congress passes the tax I'll need to apply for unemployment benefits. That would of course be tricky since I don't have an employer.

At least Chris Dodd was on target, though not encouraging.

Dear Ms. Jubin:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 1068, the Let Wall Street Pay for Wall Street's Bailout Act of 2009. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you are no doubt aware, the United States Government has been obligated to act in bold and aggressive ways to address our current economic crisis. These responses have been necessary to stave off a total collapse of our economy, and have required an unprecedented amount of federal resources. This, coupled with the fiscal strains placed on the government by many of the policy choices of the Bush Administration over the last eight years has resulted in our projected deficit reaching a record-high level of more than a trillion dollars. In light of this, and the tremendous burden which these actions have placed on taxpayers, various members of Congress have offered plans to help repay this debt.

One such proposal, the Let Wall Street Pay for Wall Street's Bailout Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR). This legislation would impose a 0.25 percent transaction tax on the sale and purchase of stocks and other similar financial products, a fee which would be phased out once the cost of financial assistance appropriated under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and subsequent Federal commitments entered into by the Federal Reserve, are repaid. While companion legislation has not been introduced in the United States Senate, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should this or similar legislation come before the Senate for consideration.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this or other issues of importance, please visit my website at and sign up to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. If you also would like information on my work as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, please visit the Committee's website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I may be of assistance to you in any way.


United States Senator

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