Nurses spend their days helping patients, working hard. (Full disclosure: my partner is in nursing school). And now through their unions, they are fighting for us. They think that "[t]he big banks, investment firms and other financial institutions, which ruined the economy with trillion-dollar trades on people’s homes and pensions and similar reckless gambling, should pay for the recovery." Hell if they can lose $3B and the CEO keeps his job, they can afford to pay a small transactions tax on their constant speculation.
A coalition of nurses’ unions is taking their call for a “Robin Hood” tax on Wall Street -- which they say could generate up to $350 billion a year -- to Chicago in the first major protest ahead of this weekend’s NATO summit.msnbc
Their pitch: impose a tax of 50 cents on every $100 of trades of stocks, bonds, dividends and other financial transactions, which are not currently taxed. The U.S. would join more than a dozen other nations that already have a financial transaction tax, according to National Nurses United (NNU).
“We’re focused on building a social movement that actually enacts change and to get the attention of the national leaders,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, NNU’s executive director. “We want the end of austerity in our country and in … other countries.”
The financial transaction tax is not a new concept. The U.S. had one from 1914 to 1966, and several politicians called for another one after the Wall Street crash in 1987, National Nurses United said.
Supporters include Nobel Laureate economists Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, and Joseph Stiglitz, the former World Bank chief economist -- both of whom have spoken out in favor of such a tax in the past.
A bill introduced last November by two U.S. Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Peter DeFazio, calls for a tax of up to 0.25 percent – or 25 cents on every $100 – on the value of stock trades in addition to taxing transactions in other financial instruments.
So why are nurses involved you might ask? Because they see first hand what austerity is doing to people, especially on the growing number of those in poverty in our nation.
Why would nurses get mixed up in an issue like that?
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, says there’s a simple explanation: “The big banks, investment firms and other financial institutions, which ruined the economy with trillion-dollar trades on people’s homes and pensions and similar reckless gambling, should pay for the recovery.”
Nurses have been on the front lines of the crisis, seeing firsthand the health impacts of skyrocketing poverty and record high rates of uninsured Americans.
Their specific tax proposal: a small fee on each trade of stocks, derivatives and other financial instruments. Even at a rate of 0.5 percent or less, such taxes could generate massive revenues to pay for things ordinary people in Chicago and elsewhere urgently need, such as affordable health care and decent schools.
Endorsers of their Friday rally in Daley Center Plaza include 100 union, environmental, and global health groups.
Extreme riches for the 1% of the 1% or schools and healthcare. This nation only has one now: billionaires play while school children do without. We are approaching the 19th century with robber-barons and huge poverty.
Go here to see other supporters of some kind of a transactions tax: Statement of Support for Transactions Tax
Al Gore, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Nobel Prize winning economists Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, Jeffrey Sachs, George Soros, Lawrence Summers, and many others.
Paul Krugman, economist and Nobel Laureate
And then there’s the idea of taxing financial transactions, which have exploded in recent decades. The economic value of all this trading is dubious at best. In fact, there’s considerable evidence suggesting that too much trading is going on… But wouldn’t such a tax hurt economic growth? As I said, the evidence suggests not — if anything, it suggests that to the extent that taxing financial transactions reduces the volume of wheeling and dealing, that would be a good thing.
Lawrence Summers, former Director of the National Economic CouncilMore:
Some form of securities transactions tax would have the desirable economic effects of curbing speculation and of raising a significant amount of revenue
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of GermanyCites are at the link.
We all agree that a financial transaction tax would be the right signal to show that we have understood that financial markets have to contribute their share to the recovery of economies.
Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy
We are open to supporting this initiative [the financial transaction tax] at the EU level.
Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives
I believe the transaction tax still has a great deal of merit… [It would have] really minimal impact on the transaction, but a tremendous impact on helping us meet our needs.
Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain
I’m in favour of the tax on financial transactions
So if you are in Chicago, march with the nurses for your own health and the health or our nation.