Just in time for the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, a bill to tax Wall Street has been introduced in Congress.
H.R. 6411, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, calls for a small tax of 0.5 percent on stocks -- 50 cents on every $100 of trades -- and 0.1 percent on bonds, and 0.005 percent on derivatives or other investments.
That small investment offers a big return for the American people. As much as $350 billion could be raised every year paid for by the very people who did so much to tank our economy by gambling with people's homes and pensions.
The Robin Hood tax bill is the product of a broad campaign by nurses, health care and AIDS activists, labor, faith community, environmental, and other community activists who have been rallying across the U.S. for this simple, but powerful reform.
Today, the Robin Hood campaigners welcomed the bill introduction and celebrated by joining the mass protests at Zuccotti Park and across Manhattan to mark the Occupy anniversary.
Revenue generated by H.R. 6411 could be used to help fund the critical needs facing Main Street communities, for good paying jobs, health care, quality education, and fighting AIDS and climate change, among many other basics.
It would make high frequency trading unprofitable and help reduce the excess speculation on commodities like food and gas that drives up prices. It would put our markets back in the hands of people, protecting the market and economy from computer-generated collapses.
“The American public provided hundreds of billions to bailout Wall Street during the global fiscal crisis yet bore the brunt of the crisis with lost jobs and reduced household wealth,” said Rep. Ellison. “This is a phenomenally wealthy nation, yet our tax and regulatory system allowed the financial titans to amass great riches while impoverishing the systems that enable inclusive prosperity. A financial transaction tax protects our financial markets from speculation and provides the revenue needed to invest in the education, health and communities of the American people.”
“Last summer, scientists proved that we can actually end the AIDS pandemic if we just scale up our investment in treatment and prevention programs,” said Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP (Global Access Project). “But when we go to Congress, all we hear about are budget cuts. We need to increase revenue and the Robin Hood Tax is the best of all proposals to do just that.”
Here's how Robert Pollin, one of some 1,000 economists who have endorsed the Robin Hood tax, describes it:Imagine that most Americans pay a sales tax on most ordinary consumer activity. Yet J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, and all the other high rollers pay nothing on the thousands of shares they trade every nano second.
"In its essentials, the idea of a financial market transaction tax is simple. It would mean that financial market traders would pay a small fee to the government every time they purchased any financial market instrument, including all stock, bond, options, futures, and swap trades. This would be the equivalent of sales taxes that Americans have long paid every time they buy an automobile, shirt, baseball glove, airline ticket, or pack of chewing gum, eat at a restaurant, or have their hair cut."
No wonder the Robin Hood campaign is also an international movement that has prompted more than 30 countries to adopt it -- most recently France.
“HR-6411 is a critical step to generate the revenue for the healing and recovery our Main Street communities across the nation so desperately need," said Jean Ross, RN, co-president of National Nurses United. "From coast to coast, nurses, health care, AIDS, environmental, labor, faith community and other community activists have come together calling for a Robin Hood tax on financial speculation so that Wall Street will help pay to reverse the damage its reckless behavior caused to our economy. This is a small, common sense tax, already in place and working wonderfully well in dozens of countries across the world. America is ready for the Robin Hood tax.”Learn more at the Robin Hood website, and see what you can do to help the campaign. What a great way to celebrate the Occupy anniversary.