July 16, 2013

Tuesday Tax Tradeoff: Unemployment Benefits OR Wall Street Trader Tax Breaks

By Will Rice, Americans for Tax Fairness

Unemployment Benefits vs. Special Tax Breaks for Wall StreetGoing jobless for over six months may seem rough, but apparently it’s Wall Street’s riskiest gamblers who really deserve our sympathy.

Thanks to across-the-board spending cuts (known as the sequester), the long-term unemployed are facing a $46 cut in their already austere average weekly benefit of $289, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Savings: $2.4 billion.

Meanwhile, wealthy speculators who rapidly trade risky investments called derivatives are shielded from their fair share of taxes (p. 15) – never mind that it was this kind of casino capitalism that brought on the Great Recession. Normally, quick traders are denied the special low tax rate enjoyed by long-term investors, but dabblers in derivatives are allowed a good chunk of the special treatment. Cost: $2.7 billion.

Moral of the story: Don’t suffer unemployment. Cause it.

See here NELP’s analysis of how the sequester cuts have affected the unemployed in each state participating in the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.