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Max Baucus Meta-Nixes Bank Tax

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Max Baucus Meta-Nixes Bank Tax"

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When Congress passed TARP back in the fall of 2008, they included a provision requiring the executive branch to devise a proposal for recovering the funds. The Obama administration delivered in January, with an idea for a temporary “bank tax” that would be paid by the largest financial services firms in the country and semi-offset the implicit subsidy that they get from implicit government guarantees. It was a good idea that congress ought to push further—make the tax permanent, for example. Max Baucus says no:

The Senate Finance Committee chairman tells The Hill he doesn’t think there are 60 votes for a bank tax.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Tuesday told The Hill that he did not believe his chamber had the 60 votes needed to include a bank tax in the financial reform bill currently being debated on the floor.

“I don’t think it has 60 votes on this bill,” he said.

I find this kind of “meta” stuff very annoying and I wish reporters wouldn’t let the Baucuses of the world get away with it so easily. 60 votes aside, does Baucus think the bank tax idea is a good one? If not, what’s his critique of it? If so, does he think it would be good to try to bring it up as a separate reconciliation bill at some point? Is there some different form of tax increase that he likes better? Or will the budget deficit vanish like magic without tax increases?

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