Dean Baker, Wall Street and the Economy


Dean Baker says:

Wall Street and the Economy

Suppose Timothy Geithner announced a new program that would tax every family $10,000 dollars and give the money to Wall Street banks and hedge funds. (Any resemblance between this hypothetical program and real world programs is purely coincidental.)

We would expect the stock of Wall Street banks and other financial sector firms to rally based on the anticipation of higher profits. Is this good for the economy? It’s not in any obvious way. After all, we can always tax people more to raise profits for Wall Street, but that doesn’t help the economy.

Reporters should remember this when assessing Wall Street’s response to the plan proposed by Geithner for buying bad assets from banks. The larger the subsidy, the better the news for Wall Street. It’s not clear that most of the public should be happy about seeing more of their tax dollars going to Wall Street.

–Dean Baker