CNN Opinion: Tax Wall Street to Create Jobs on Main Street

Leo Hindery, Jr. is chair of the US Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation. He is the former chief executive of AT&T Broadband and other major media and telecom companies, and published this editorial on CNN Opinion.

New York (CNN) — What if, at once, we could create millions of new jobs, greatly reduce the federal deficit and dampen the financial speculation that almost destroyed our economy?

Well, we can. And to do so, all we need is more political resolve from President Obama plus some actions by Congress.

The economic recovery that some in the administration allege to be underway is not really much underway at all.

The reality is that we are stuck in a jobless recovery, one in which real unemployment is mired at around 19 percent. That’s nearly twice the 10 percent official unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy is short a staggering 22.4 million jobs. That’s more than twice the 9 million figure the administration is using in order to generally be considered at full employment.

It’s probably a political impossibility to label new economic initiatives aimed at job creation a “second stimulus,” given the skepticism about how effective last year’s stimulus efforts have really been. But we can’t run away from the major fiscal outlays that are going to be needed, efforts that are likely to cost up to $200 billion annually into the medium term.

The first and best place we could start to find these funds is with the “Wall Street Fair Share Act” that’s been introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. A related bill is pending in the House from Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon.

Read the full editorial.