Rumours abound that UK Chancellor Alistair Darling is preparing to levy a supertax on rich bankers to make his boss, Gordon Brown, feel better about screwing up the economy. A politically motivated move of this kind would also go down well with the masses, who doubtless will cry that greedy bankers have at last got their come-uppance.
The Chancellor is also thought to be considering a one-year windfall tax on bank profits. Darling will announce any move against the banks and / or bankers in this week's pre-budget report. He is, however, only thought likely to agree to a bonus supertax if he can be convinced that there wouldn't be largescale evasion.
And these rumours, of course, have gone down in the City like an iron gilder. One banker told Here Is The City: 'Instead of penalizing success and pushing high earners and businesses overseas, this government needs to face the fact that it has run out of ideas about how to turn the economy round and sort out our finances. New Labour has turned into Hard Labour - for the rest of us. It's time for a change. You can't rely on those who got us into this mess to get us out of it. At the moment, we are a bankrupt country being led by a bankrupt government. It's so bad, I'm even considering going to live in France!'.
Over in the US, The Wall Street Journal reports that five senior AIG executives last week indicated that they would quit if their compensation is cut by US pay czar Ken Feinberg.
Finally, Bloomberg reports that the Obama administration expects the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to end up coming in some $200bn less than projected, helping to reduce the size of the budget deficit. The $245bn injected into the nation's banks is now expected to turn a profit of $19bn.
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