President Obama wants to levy a "financial crisis responsibility fee" on the 50 largest banks, to recoup expenses for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The fee — more popularly known as the Tarp tax — could raise up to $90 billion over the next 10 years. But if the intent is for banks to repay society, wouldn't it be better to have them perform a much-needed community service? Rather than fine banks, make them create jobs.
Banks could pay the equivalent of this fee in new wages, resulting in an immediate surge in employment. Wouldn't it be ironic if the banking industry, which many blame for the economic meltdown, actually led the recovery? Adding $90 billion of paychecks in itself would be a stimulus package. This could generate between 2.5 million and 3 million jobs immediately — good ones, too.