Stewart Lansley proves they do in his new TUC pamphlet with that title. He also shows they matter because they harm the rest of us.
His analysis is strong. It's also highly readable.
The package of proposed measures is an agenda for necessary action:
- Banks should run higher levels of capital requirements to improve countercyclical policy.
- Greater transparency is needed in the extent of risk inherent in financial products.
- Private equity companies should have the same disclosure requirements as public companies.
- International controls need to be strengthened.
- Bonus payments should be deferred until the performances of those receiving bonuses become clear.
- Institutional investors need to take a greater role on pay, while remuneration committees need to be strengthened.
- The Competition Commission should launch an inquiry into the fees charged by investment banks.
- The Government needs to reassert a commitment to the principle of progressive taxation.
- New rules should limit the tax relief available on leveraged loans.
- Inheritance tax should be replaced with a lifetime receipts tax.
- Capital gains should be treated as income.
- A much more concerted attack is needed on tax avoidance by, for example, introducing a minimum tax rate for those earning over £100,000 and taking a tougher stance on the non-domiciliary rule.
- The Government should finance either a regular independent social audit that analyses the impact of increasing wealth concentration on wider life chances or establish a permanent Wealth Commission parallel to the Low Pay Commission.
Since I have written for the TUC some have asked me why I think the association worthwhile. When they're putting necessary ideas like these on the table I think the reason is obvious.