MAJOR NEW CAMPAIGN FOR A ROBIN HOOD TAX ON WALL STREET LAUNCHES IN U.S. TODAY WITH CELEBRITIES, ECONOMISTS AND ACTIVISTS
A Tax on Wall Street Transactions Could Raise Hundreds of Billions in the US for Education, Jobs, Health Care and to Address AIDS, Climate Here and Around the World
As JP Morgan Chief Dimon Testifies in Congress, Nationwide Rallies in Major Cities & Online Video Launched in Support of Campaign
Washington, DC - Dozens of national organizations, celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Coldplay's Chris Martin, renowned economists including Jeffrey Sachs, and former Goldman Sachs executives and global leaders such as Desmond Tutu joined today for an unprecedented coalition, calling for a "Robin Hood Tax" on Wall Street.
In many cities and towns across the country, America's biggest nurses union, National Nurses United, along with hundreds of students, climate and AIDS activists, and faith leaders took to the streets in rallies organized in support of the new campaign.
"By placing a tiny tax on Wall Street-less than half of 1%- we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. That's money that could go towards investing in jobs, health care, housing and our schools; to end the student debt crisis and the AIDS pandemic and to halt climate change and poverty," said Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP (Global Access Project).
Economists estimate that we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually by placing a small sales tax on trading in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies. Experts also suggest that such a policy would help limit the reckless short-term speculation that threatens financial stability. Over 1,000 leading economists have endorsed the policy, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, star of the current movie "The Avengers," released a video calling on Americans to join the campaign. He was joined in the video by Coldplay's Chris Martin and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. The video features Ruffalo drawing a Robin Hood mask on a dollar bill and calling on others to do the same.
"The Robin Hood Tax campaign that launches in the US today offers us a solution to kick-start our economy, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to help those who have lost out as a result of the financial crisis they did nothing to cause - not just here in America, but around the world," said Ruffalo.
"Wall Street and the big banks are exploiting tax loopholes while generating record profits and being rewarded with billions in bailouts and bonuses. Most of the recovery thus far has benefited the top 1%, not the 99%,"said Jean Ross, RN and co-president, National Nurses United. "The Robin Hood Tax is easy to enforce, tough to evade and won't touch the bank accounts, pensions or savings of the vast majority of the American people."
"The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax with a big ambition - to get us back on our feet through nothing more complicated than asking Wall Street to pay their fair share," said Leigh Blake of Act V, an AIDS advocacy group.
As the Robin Hood Tax Campaign launched, members of Congress were expected to question JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, whose trading loss of more than $2 billion caused many to underscore the need for new regulation and taxation of the financial sector to prevent future incidents.
"The Robin Hood Tax will not just begin to bring basic tax fairness to Wall Street, it will help curb the destructive gambling that drove the crisis and, as we see so clearly at JPMorgan Chase, continues to threaten our economic stability and security," said Liz Ryan Murray, Policy Director of National People's Action.
In 15 cities across the country: New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Boston, Dayton, Miami, Atlanta, El Paso, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Portland, OR, activists - led by National Nurses United - echoed that call, rallying outside of JPMorgan and other financial institutions in support of the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street transactions.
"There are huge, quick transactions that add to the churning and speculation in international markets that has helped to bring the world economy to the perilous state that it's in right now," said economist Jeffrey Sachs. "The time has really arrived to put a Robin Hood tax in place. Many countries around the world are doing so. It's time for the United States to do the same."
From 1914 until 1966, the United States enforced a Robin Hood tax that raised revenue from every sale or transfer of stock. The tax benefited average Americans and helped grow the middle class. Forty countries have employed this practice-and the policy is expected to be adopted in Europe this year.