Solidarity Grows Around HR 6411
The list of endorsers backing the Robin Hood Tax Campaign expands every day, as the logic and fairness – and necessity -- of taxing Wall Street speculation, and blunting austerity, resonates louder and louder. The Robin Hood sales tax on Wall Street trading in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies would raise up to $350 billion each year and Robin Hood wants to see that money meet the most compelling needs in U.S. communities -- with support for good jobs, health care and education, the environment and infrastructure. It also wants to see revenue directed to international efforts in addressing HIV/AIDS, climate change and more. Many agree.
Among the array of groups which embrace and endorse this critical program -- revenue over austerity, a Wall Street tax to pay back Main Street -- are ACT UP Chapters from across the U.S., Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL-NY), Health GAP and National Nurses United; AIDS foundations joined in; the American Medical Student Association listed itself, as did Community Voices Heard; Consumer Watchdog and the Gray Panthers joined up, as well as Greenpeace, Housing Works, the National Organization of Women and the Maine People’s Alliance. Religious organizations bring strong support to Robin Hood, including Interfaith Worker Justice, the Maryknoll Office of Global Concern, the Sisters of Holly Cross – Congregation Justice Committee and National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Labor is standing firm behind the tax, with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the United Automobile Workers, Communication Workers of America and United Steelworkers. United Students Against Sweatshops is with Robin Hood, too. And more than 100 others-- all have come together for Robin Hood and its concrete commitment to social and economic justice.
The Robin Hood Tax Campaign has gathered speed in the aftermath of the introduction in Congress of H.R. 6411, “The Inclusive Prosperity Act,” brought forward by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) last month. The bill reflects in its goals and detail the Robin Hood tax, including most significantly the annual revenue sought -- $350 billion -- by the sales tax.
Raising meaningful revenue from those who can afford it, many are the same banks and financial institutions bailed out four years ago under the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), is long overdue from the perspective of Main Street, where millions remain unemployed or under-employed, small businesses are shuttered—as are foreclosed homes, overcrowding is the norm in public schools, health care services are overwhelmed, infrastructure goes unattended, the elderly putting off retirement, and millions of families in the U.S. overall finding themselves poorer and marginalized. Child poverty has climbed above the 20 percent mark as U.S. companies – banks and non-financials – sit on an estimated $3.6 trillion in cash.
In the face of enduring hardship unprecedented in the last half century, or longer, the forces of austerity are hounding the nation with calls for cut-backs, curtailments and cost containment. “Austerity is essentially about smaller government, and a small-government ideology means lower taxes and fewer regulations- a boon to big business, especially the finance industry, and the rich,” commented economist Jeff Madrick in Harper’s Magazine October, 2012, issue. “More austerity serves no useful purpose,” wrote economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times on September 27. “Research by the International Monetary Fund suggests that spending cuts in deeply depressed economies may actually reduce investor confidence because they accelerate the pace of economic decline.”
Austerity poses a profound danger to America’s future, as it will set this country back further, inflicting more pain on families still reeling in the aftermath of Wall Street’s wheeling and dealing, credit bubble and collapse, and recalling the hundreds of billions of tax dollars dispatched in the name of “too big to fail”.
Robin Hood Tax Campaign endorsers are sounding a resolute NO to austerity and call for a tax on Wall Street speculation to start the process of healing a wounded nation. The time to make H.R. 6411 – The Inclusive Prosperity Act – law is now.