The Corner

Will Obama Tax Banks to Cut the Deficit?

The Obama administration is reportedly strongly considering levying new fees on Wall Street firms to recoup bailout funds and help cut the deficit. The fees could figure into the president’s budget, due in February.

The proposal could be seen as the delivery of a vague requirement in the TARP bill that taxpayers recoup bailouts funds. But, as the Times notes, that is already happening:

American taxpayers’ losses will probably be much less than initially feared; big banks have begun paying back their bailout money with interest. Losses could reach $120 billion ultimately, the Treasury has estimated, but most of that relates not to bank bailouts but to lifelines provided to automakers and to the insurance giant American International Group.

Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said Monday that “the president has talked on a number of occasions about ensuring that the money that taxpayers put up to rescue our financial system is paid back in full. That’s been the president’s position. I think that’s the least that taxpayers are owed. And we’ll have more details on budgetary stuff as we get closer to the budget being released.”

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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