Pay up, banks told

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has expressed confidence that lawmakers would approve his proposed tax on banks to recover bailout money, despite opposition from Republicans and the financial industry.

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has expressed confidence that lawmakers would approve his proposed tax on banks to recover bailout money, despite opposition from Republicans and the financial industry.

"Like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favour are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect," he said on Saturday, using his weekly radio and Internet addresses to promote the plan.

If banks can afford to pay out bonuses, he said, then they can repay taxpayers, too.

The proposed 0,15percent tax would last at least 10 years and generate about $90billion (about R667billion) over the decade, according to administration estimates. It would apply to about 50 of the biggest banks, those with more than $50billion (about R371billion) in assets, and include many institutions that accepted no money from the $700billion (about R5,1trillion) financial industry bailout.

Obama said that although the banks were facing a "crisis of their own creation", the "distasteful but necessary" taxpayer-funded bailout prevented an "even greater calamity for the country." - Sapa-AP

X