This Labor Day: Tax Wall Street To Create Jobs and Save Main Street
The government’s most recent reports are that 12.8 million Americans – 8.3 percent – are unemployed. These levels, reports the government, “have shown little movement thus far in 2012.” That’s not where we should be this Labor Day. Robin Hood says the time is now to tax Wall Street, use revenue to create jobs and rebuild Main Street.
“This is no way to celebrate Labor Day,” said Jean Ross, RN and co-president of National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union and association of registered nurses in the U.S. “This is the richest country in the world, by far, with vast resources, and yet millions of Americans remain unemployed with few prospects. A Robin Hood Tax is the way to start to turn it around.” NNU is a member of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.
In July, the number of long-term unemployed – those out of work for 27 weeks or more – also showed little change, with 5.2 million Americans without work. The number of Americans employed part-time – “involuntary part-time workers” – stood at 8.2 million. Also unchanged. These are workers on part-time schedules because their hours were cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.
A survey this year by Rutgers University revealed a dire situation even for college graduates: Fully one-half of graduates in the last six years do not have full-time jobs. The survey pre-dates results from the Class of ’12, whose fate is surely the same, or worse. And as student debt now exceeds $1 trillion, more than all consumer debt, the future these young Americans face – without full-time jobs and buried in debt – is deeply disturbing. Numerous studies point to the enduring consequences of unemployment or marginal employment for young adults.
A Robin Hood Tax is a small tax on speculative activity -- on stocks, bonds, derivatives, currency trades -- that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the U.S. The revenue would be devoted to American communities most in need… for quality healthcare and schools, to rebuild infrastructure, protect the environment and more. All translate into the creation of good jobs.
New studies point to the stimulative effect of jobs in tapping the $3.6 trillion sidelined in today’s economy, notably in data set forth in economist Robert Pollin’s new book, Back to Full Employment. That’s cash held by financial and non-financial corporations alike, a hoard of money idled, by those citing a “lack of confidence” in the economy. The way to build confidence, and unlock those trillions, is to start employing Americans at good wages and on a full-time basis.
From across the country, labor is joining the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, adding its voice to the call for a Wall Street tax on speculative activity. Among the unions who have added their voices to a call for a Robin Hood Tax are the United Steelworkers and the Communication Workers of America.
“The United Steelworkers is proud to join the coalition supporting the Robin Hood Tax,” said Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers International president. “It’s high time that the suits on Wall Street who spend their days shuffling money from one pocket to another through speculative trading practices are charged this tiny tax to help fix the financial devastation and suffering they have helped cause. The Robin Hood Tax will be a big step forward towards recovery in the U.S. and the global economy.”
“The Communications Workers of America wholeheartedly joins the broad coalition endorsing the Robin Hood Tax," said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. "'If you break it, you own it' is an old saying that unfortunately did not apply to the Wall Street speculators who broke our economy. It's time to do the right thing and make the speculators pay while putting the money to productive use helping hard working Americans and their families.”
Other endorsers from the labor movement are: The American Postal Workers Union, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Jewish Labor Committee, Jobs with Justice, Labor Campaign for Single Payer Health Care, National Nurses United, Pride at Work, UNITE HERE, and the Utility Workers Union of America.