Tags: Pimco | Obama | Bank | Tax

Pimco Chief: Obama Bank Tax Misses the Point

By Dan Weil   |   Monday, 25 Jan 2010 09:57 AM

President Obama’s bank tax doesn’t deal with the real problems afflicting our financial system, says Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of mega money management firm Pimco.

“There will be efficiency losses and economic distortions associated with the selective taxation of banks,” he writes in the Financial Times.

“But such considerations will fall on deaf ears.”

And that’s not even the biggest problem, El-Erian says.

“The real danger is that the selective taxation of banks may divert attention away from growing policy inconsistencies and thus may inadvisably substitute for urgently needed structural and regulatory measures.”

Banks now face a dilemma, El-Erian maintains.

“They are being urged to lend more to help the struggling real economy, while simultaneously being de-risked in order to lower the systemic threat they pose,” he points out.

“This inconsistency is indicative of a much wider challenge for industrial countries today. At a time when unemployment has soared, . . . governments’ degrees of freedom are quickly being eroded by mounting concerns about fiscal deficits and the ballooning of sovereign balance sheets.”

Investment icon Warren Buffett also opposes the bank tax, telling CNBC that it essentially makes now healthy banks finance a bailout of struggling auto companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“The government has made a lot of money” off the banks, Buffett said.

“To say they have to pay that back doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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President Obama s bank tax doesn t deal with the real problems afflicting our financial system, says Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of mega money management firm Pimco. There will be efficiency losses and economic distortions associated with the selective taxation of banks, he...
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