How to Heal America
This country, despite all its wealth, has come to share a condition from which most of the world suffers: Growing divide between rich and poor. A Robin Hood Tax can help jump start a real recovery to create a real economy.
Karen Higgins, co-president of National Nurses United, the largest US organization and union of registered nurses, talked about the Robin Hood Tax to delegates at a United Nations conference in New York. The Feb. 5 forum was sponsored by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the NGO Committee for Social Development on the occasion of the meeting of the UN Commission for Social Development.
“As nurses, we see the effects of economic inequality in our hospitals. Poor people – and there are now almost 50 million in poverty in the U.S. - are more susceptible to infection,” she said.
Nurses see younger people with stress-induced heart attacks and children with stomach ailments that are normally seen in adults. They witness people forced to put off critical medical tests and other treatments.
“But nurses are not taking any of this sitting down. We are working to do what we know best: that is, to heal--our patients, our families, our communities, the nation,” Higgins said.
Last year, the nurses joined other organizations in starting the Robin Hood Tax campaign in the U.S. It follows a similar movement going strong in Europe and other parts of the world.
The Robin Hood Tax is a small a sales tax on financial transactions—trading in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies. It could raise up to $350 billion a year.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced a bill in Congress that would impose such a tax.
“The goal is to use this annual revenue to rebuild this country,” Higgins said. “It would mean good jobs at living wages, support for quality education and healthcare, a retirement system that allows seniors to live in dignity, cleaning up our environment and giving infrastructure the attention that is overdue.”
The Robin Hood tax – which has endorsements from more than 125 organizations in the U.S. -- also means a greater U.S. commitment to international efforts to research and treat HIV/AIDS and address climate control, she added.
“You don’t have to be a nurse to know an emergency,” Higgins said. “This planet is in a state of emergency. And emergencies can’t wait to be treated.”
Written by National Nurses United, which has more than 185,000 members from nearly every state in the U.S.