7 Oct 2012

BIS Transaction Data for 2011: Roughly $3 quadrillion in the USA

In my final post based on the dataset provided by the Bank for International Settlements Preliminary results for 2011 ("Statistics on payment, clearing and settlement systems"), I would like to provide an update on the figures for the USA. Here they are.

As you can see, the numbers are really very close to those that were reported in 2010 - with a total that is very close to €3 quadrillion (a 3 with 15 zeros), despite the fact that the figures for "Card payments" are currently "nav" (not available). We can probably assume another $4 trillion there.

What I find very interesting here is that this total is something like 1200 times larger than the total tax revenue of the US government.That means that the US government could probably abolish all the existing taxes and replace the whole lot with a universal financial transaction tax of only about 0.1%.

It's truly tragic that Andrew VanHooks TRAN$ACTION  TAX website in the US still only has 110 "likes" (they are hoping for a million). Barack Obama - are you listening?? Surely, introducing a financial transaction tax in the US has to be a No-brainer. Who would not vote for getting rid of all taxes and just paying a fraction of one percent on all electronic transactions? Even the Tea-party should be salivating at the prospect.

I also note that the €3 quadrillion number is also roughly 20 times the entire US governments national debt (currently standing at around $15 trillion). How long would it take to pay off the whole sum using a Financial Transaction Tax?


  1. By the way, do you know you have been quoted here?


  2. Keep pressing for change, Simon. Your ideas make a lot of sense for the 21st Century, and also genuinely create a level playing field for business and individuals.

  3. 15 trillion times 20 = 300 trillion, and imposing a small tax on financial transactions would decrease the number of financial transactions.

    but I'm not sure this post makes any sense anyway.

  4. Thanks for the correction Zack. Yes, transactions are currently running at around 340 times the total US deficit (because in addition to my getting the ratio wrong by a factor of 10, the total for US transactions is actually more like 5.5 quadrillion a year (http://simonthorpesideas.blogspot.fr/2012/12/us-financial-transactions-in-2011-55.html).

    But it's also true that there is simply not enough money around to pay off all the debt that there is. So, while using a financial transaction tax would be a far better way of raising taxes for the government than income tax, sales taxes, and business taxes, the only real permanent solution would be to create the money supply debt free instead of letting commercial banks create money out of thin air and charging everyone (including governments) interest to rent their money.

  5. though quite old but the Data for 2011 is useful for USA.

  6. I presume you saw the numbers that I published for 2012



  7. this Transaction for 2011 is really huge in the USA.

  8. Keep up the good work. I'm relying on your data to post on my Facebook page. "Innovative solutions for Prosperity".