Name That Tax

January 16th, 2010

As reported by Taxing bank size, Making banks pay (Ezra Klein, 1/13/10), Obama to seek tax on big banks: Plan targets risk, bonuses, On the Hill, bankers torn on crisis role (Washington Post 1/14/10), The new bank tax, and beyond (Ezra Klein, 1/14/10 11:59),  Anger over big bonuses resurfaces, Tax on large financial first designed to pay for TARP losses (Washington Post 1/15/10),Obama’s bank-friendly bank tax (Ezra Klein, 1/15/10 6:00 pm), and Obama accuses nation’s largest banks of selfishness ( 1/16/10 6:00 am), Republicans are up in arms about President Obama proposal to tax the 50 largest banks and financial institutions in order to recoup taxpayer losses from the Wall Street bailout of Wall Street. The tax would affect banks, insurance companies and brokerages with more than $50 billion in assets and would collect a projected $90 billion over the next 10 years (see this White House fact sheet for details). Republicans are particularly dismissive of the proposed program’s name, the “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee” (FCRF). If they don’t like that name (I admit it’s not that catchy, but that’s not why they don’t like it), how about this one: the Public Accountability Bailout Assistance Crisis Surcharge and Banking Industry Taxpayer Compensation (PABACS-A-BITC, or just “Payback” for short). Or, we could call it one of these:

  • Financial Accountability Taxpayer Compensation Act Tax (FATCAT)
  • Financial Industry Transaction/Excessive Profits on Wallstreet Reimbursement (FITE-PoWR)
  • Bailout Offset National Unified Surcharge (BONUS)
  • Transactions and Excess Earnings Modifier (TAX-EM!)
  • Transactions and Extraordinary Taxpayer Home Equity Modifier (TAX-THEM, which would funnel tax receipts into home loan modifications)
  • Financial Industry Bailout Repayment Surcharge (FIBRS, or “Fibbers”)
  • Recouping Excessive Profits/Assets Bank Accountability Income/Liability/Operations Unified Tax (REPA-BAILOUT)
  • Financial Industry Taxpayer Equity Public Welfare Reimbursement (FITE-PoWR)
  • Stimulus Negation Oversized Bonus Surcharge (SNOBS)
  • Accountability for Negligence/Greed and Reimbursement for Your Misuse of Bailout (ANGRY MoB)
  • Financial Industry Responsibility Economic Accountability Surcharge System Earnings Surcharge (FIRE-ASSES)
  • Financial Unrest Crisis Offset Fiscal Fee (FUCOFF).
  • National Offset for Financial Underperformance (NO,F-U)
  • Financial Unrest Crisis Bailout Accountability National Compensation Surcharge (FUC-BANCS)

Watch the videos below, and please sign the petition below in support of this program. Let me (and your representatives) know what you think the best acronym is, or propose some of your own by playing “Name That Tax” below.

     Banking’s Fantastic Four testified before a Congressional Commission,

Which was looking for some kind of responsibility admission.

But the bankers didn’t do much but hem and haw

And didn’t admit to much at all.

     One said they “just missed, you know, that home prices don’t go up forever,”

But it’s not, they said, their fault, however.

The Four said the crisis couldn’t have been anticipated

(I guess that’s part true, since they’re the ones that the crisis created).

     They emphasized that they’d now weathered the financial storm,

But warned against “overreaching government reform.”

The recovery, they said, might still falter,

If their profits were sacrificed on the government’s altar.

     For example, just when the big banks thought they could relax,

Obama has come up with a financial tax.

Big banks say it’s so unfair, we’ve got to stop it

(Never mind they now have record profit).

     Things have been hard if you’re a titan of finance,

But doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?

Big bankers, I know your bonuses last year were small,

And some didn’t get a bonus at all!

     But thankfully, American Taxpayers came through

And did what we had to do.

Taxpayers cleaned up after bankers’ and Bush’s eight year blunder

And kept the financial sector from going under.

     Yes, it was you guys that created this financial morass,

Not the suffering taxpayers of the middle class.

And though this language is a little crass,

I think it’s fair to say that we saved your ass.

     A tax on size makes economic and fiscal sense;

To say it’s “unfair” is utter nonsense.

When it was stimulus time I didn’t hear any bankers crying out

That it was unfair to bail them out.

     And like the President says, it’s “like clockwork”–

The “banks and politicians who curry their favor” have gone to work.

They want to “stop this fee from going into effect,”

In spite of the massive profits they continue to collect.

     So we’re just asking for a little gratitude,

And we could do with a little less attitude.

When someone saves your bacon the rule that applies

Is that you shouldn’t turn around and poke them in the eyes.

     We’d also like you big bankers to contribute

The financial crisis’ cost to redistribute.

And we’d like you to kick some money in

To (hopefully) keep this from happening again.

     We’re not asking for a handout, just a hand.

But maybe “ask” is the wrong word—I really mean demand.

Because in case you hadn’t noticed, with Obama, the Dems, and all,

The government is no longer at your beck and call.

     And for you, the conservative super-devout

Who opposed the idea of a government bailout:

It’s strange that ideology isn’t an inhibitor

When it comes to giving government money to a campaign contributor.

     It’s funny how every one of you voted against the stimulus,

And now resist efforts to get taxpayer money paid back to us.

If you want economic recovery you have to do more than pray for it,

And shouldn’t it be the big banks that caused the crisis who pay for it?


Click here to show your support for making big bankers reimburse taxpayers for bailout costs.

Do you want to play “Name That Tax” too? Just randomly choose finance-related words and then arrange them into a pithy acronym of your own! The winning entry will be featured in a mass email campaign in support of to the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee” (or whatever ends up getting the most votes) to the President, House of Representatives, and Senate. To vote for one of the above acronyms or to add and vote for your own, just add a comment with the phrase “I vote for…” (followed by your acronym) somewhere in the comment text (please put the acronym in quotes so I can pull it out of the comment text and aggregate them more easily). Suggestions and votes will then be aggregated and the mass email sent out as a petition. (NB: Please try to keep it somewhat clean since we’re trying to maintain a PG-13 rating. If you want to use profane references, please do so indirectly (e.g., by spelling out only part of the word in question as I’ve done above.)

For a well-reasoned opposing view, see Bailouts, bonuses, and the hypocritical blame games (Pearlstein, Washington Post 1/15/10).

And now, the videos.

Here’s Obama speaking out in favor of the tax.

Here’s Obama’s Jan. 16 “verbal barrage.”

Here’s video from the “Fantastic Four” hearing.

Here’s the Daily Show 1/12/10 Wall Street bonus report.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Clusterf#@k to the Poor House – Wall Street Bonuses
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
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3 Responses to “Name That Tax”

  1. Flyer Says:

    The fact is these 50 big banks could pay the tax from just a part of their multi-million dollars bonuses. Press forward with this tax, Mr. President. Explain it over and over and over. And let the Republicans publicly stand as backers of these huge banks and their fat cat bonus earners.

  2. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Jack the Ripper Says:

    […] And they oppose Obama’s bank bailout repayment tax, PAYBACS-A-BITC. […]

  3. Newsericks » Blog Archive » State of the Union Says:

    […]      With healthcare reform, the economy, and the big bank fee, […]

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