Lee, Sanders introduce bill to tax Wall Street transactions

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday introduced legislation to tax stock, bond and derivatives trading.

The Inclusive Prosperity Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would impose a tax of a "fraction of a percent" on such transactions but could generate as much as $2.4 trillion from Wall Street investors over a decade. It could also discourage high-frequency trading, which Lee and Sanders said hurts the stability of financial markets without generating any economic value.

"The government already taxes everyday families for basic items like food, clothes, and housing. Wall Street gets away with no taxes, even when conducting high-risk financial transactions," Lee said in a statement. "This has to stop. It's past time to make sure Wall Street pays their fair share so that we can provide funding for things that make us a better nation like jobs, housing, infrastructure, and college education."

"While the top 23 banks in America received over $20 billion in tax breaks last year as a result of the Trump tax plan, hundreds of thousands of young people are unable to go to college because they can't afford it, 34 million Americans have no health insurance, one out of five Americans can't afford to buy the medicine prescribed by their doctors, over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, we have the highest childhood poverty rate in the developed world and life expectancy in the U.S. has gone down for the third year in a row," Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said. "It is long past time for Congress to rein in the recklessness of Wall Street billionaires and build an economy that works for all Americans."

Lee, a reliable leader of the left flank of her party in the House, recently endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) presidential campaign.