A Tiny Tax On Derivatives Trades Will ‘Destroy’ America’s Capital Markets (And Other Lowlights From Mnuchin’s Chat With Congress)

Steve Mnuchin spent hours chatting with the House Financial Services committee on Thursday, and while that sounds terribly dry and boring, he weighed in on a dizzying variety of topics, many of which are germane for markets and the economy (which, contrary to what people like Mnuchin are prone to believing, are not the same thing).

One of the more notable soundbites came when Mnuchin was asked about the financial transactions taxes that some Democrats have floated as a way to help fund progressive agenda items.

As you might imagine, Mnuchin isn’t a fan. In fact, he employed some of his boss’s signature bombast in an effort to scare everyone to death.

“I am very concerned that that would destroy our capital markets, and the cost to American holders of mutual funds would bear the majority of the cost”, Mnuchin said.

It figures that Mnuchin wouldn’t like the idea. After all, Elizabeth Warren wants to use a version of the tax on financial transactions to help fund health care and Bernie Sanders has suggested proceeds from such levies could be used to pay for student debt relief. Mnuchin, being worth roughly $300 million, could buy an entire school if he wanted to, and maybe write his own health insurance policies and invest the float in some SLABS.

“The reality is that average everyday investors, especially mutual fund investors and those that are saving for retirement, will be severely impacted by this nefarious tax”. GOP’er Patrick McHenry imagined. (That’s probably not true.)

Mnuchin also said the tax would raise America’s borrowing costs. That, coming from a man who has presided over an explosion in the deficit and who’s responsible for flooding the market with so much issuance that dealers are asphyxiating.

In addition to voicing strong opposition to any plan that involves redistributing wealth from people like him to people like you (And spare me your pretensions to being like Steve. You’re not like Steve. If you made $2 million per year for the rest of your life, saved every penny of it and invested it with a decent annual rate of return, you probably still wouldn’t end up with what Mnuchin is worth.), Steve also weighed in on the following topics:

  1. The World Bank’s plan to lend to China (he doesn’t like it)
  2. A central bank-issued cryptocurrency (there are no plans for that in the US)
  3. Brexit (he’s “moderately concerned)
  4. Nonbank mortgage lending (he doesn’t like it)
  5. USMCA (Congress should pass it)
  6. The Uighur bill (he doesn’t want to talk about it)
  7. Student loan debt (it’s not a problem)
  8. Leveraged loans (they’re not a threat)
  9. Deutsche Bank (he’s a little worried)
  10. The dollar (markets are in charge of it
  11. Trade (he’s having productive talks with China)

If you have any further questions, he’ll be more than happy not to answer them.


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