Guest Editorial: A Financial Transaction Tax Would Rob Arizonans Of Their Savings

By Chris Campbell

The American economy is teetering on the edge of a historic crisis. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, countless businesses have closed, and thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but as we work to get people vaccinated and attempt to return to normal, we know the road to recovery will be long.

In fact, the Pew Research Center found that about half of non-retired adults say the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis will make it harder for them to achieve their long-term financial goals. This means that their education and retirement savings have all taken a hit, setting Americans back years in some cases. To help the American economy recover, we must ensure that lower-and middle- income Americans can get back on their feet financially. To do so, we must strengthen their ability to save for these important milestones.

Our members of Congress will be critical in this effort, as their votes and policies enacted will affect American families for years to come. And yet, some members of the Senate recently proposed a policy that would continue to wreak havoc on the savings of everyday Americans. The proposed financial transaction tax would tax any savings account that is traded on the stock market, impacting millions of Americans with 401ks, 529 educational savings accounts, or pensions.

The proposed tax is being introduced as a means to regulate irresponsible trading by big bankers and hedge fund managers on Wall Street. But the implications the tax would extend beyond that, landing on the shoulders of American families across the country. We do not deserve to be lumped into the same category as these Wall Street traders just for making fiscally responsible decisions and providing for the future of our families.

I am a former public high school teacher and this tax would affect me in multiple ways. I live off a pension and my personal retirement fund, both of which are traded regularly to maximize my returns. I am also putting two of my kids through college, which I saved for through 529 education savings accounts, also invested in stocks and bonds. Am I the person this policy intends to tax? I don’t think so.

Now, more than ever, it is important that our lawmakers are introducing or strengthening policies that benefit our working families. This tax would functionally do the opposite, making it harder for us to save. A study found that on the average 401k account, a financial could levy up to $65,000, or the equivalent of two years in retirement. For savings accounts that already took a hit with the stock market tanking over the past year, this tax on working people should be unacceptable to our lawmakers.

I know that our representatives in Washington are committed to the working people of Arizona and this country, and as a result, I hope they understand the negative implications of a proposed financial transaction tax. When it is considered in Congress, Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema must show their support for American families, and vote against this tax.