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PORTSIDE  October 2011, Week 5

PORTSIDE October 2011, Week 5

Subject:

Tax Wall Street to Heal America

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Date:

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 19:26:17 -0400

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Tax Wall Street to Heal America

    The nation's nurses are calling for a tax on
    financial transactions to begin raising the
    revenue needed to fix the nation's growing
    social crisis.

By Deborah Burger
Other Words
October 31

http://www.otherwords.org/articles/tax_wall_street_to_heal_america

National Nurses United, America's largest union of RNs,
is sounding an alarm.

We've organized rallies in New York, Boston,
Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and
Las Vegas, as well as in Minnesota, Michigan, Texas,
Florida, and other states and cities. We've held
demonstrations at 60 congressional field offices. And
we've joined the Occupy Together movement as first aid
volunteers in more than a dozen sites, including on
Wall Street, where it all started.

Through these actions and others, we're drawing
attention to a national emergency and calling for a
tiny but potentially powerful tax on financial
transactions. This simple step would amass up to $350
billion annually in this country as part of a global
push for revenue desperately needed here and elsewhere
around the world.

Why are we making this tax a huge priority? For nurses,
patient care extends beyond the bedside.

Consider this heartbreaking story. Steven Cross, a
single dad, departed his Lakeville, Minnesota home last
month after it was seized by the bank. He was one of
the millions of Americans - through a combination of
stagnant wages, massive unemployment, Wall Street
gouging, and bank fraud - forced out of their homes in
recent years. He left his 11-year-old son behind with
his neighbors, telling them in a note, "I don't want
him to remember me as homeless." Actually, more than
memories were at stake. According to a recent survey
conducted in California, two out of five homeless
people are at risk of dying a "premature death."

The richest 1 percent is doing us in. No one knows that
better than us nurses. People are getting sick as a
result of the system's collapse. Poverty and financial
demise are engulfing communities while the wealth of a
tiny minority continues to grow.

Early heart attacks, stomach ailments in children,
acute anxiety in all age groups, and strokes are on the
rise. All of these conditions are stress-related,
induced by the conditions imposed on a society
dedicated to fulfilling the needs of the richest 1
percent.

There was a 39-percent increase in suicide attempts in
families experiencing foreclosure in four hard-hit
states, according to a study conducted by researchers
at Princeton and Georgia State universities. The 1
percent is bad for our health. Nurses see it every day
in our hospitals and communities, and even in our own
families. That's why we're protesting. We'll keep it up
for the duration, until we see progress toward getting
crucial new resources into our communities.

America's child poverty rate of 22 percent - and rising
- is more than a national disgrace. It's a recipe for
disaster. But it can begin to be addressed by revenue
from a tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, and
speculative activity.

President Barack Obama must decide which side he is on,
Wall Street or Main Street. If he's on Main Street's
side, he needs to join the global movement in support
of a tax on financial speculation. National Nurses
United is sponsoring a major protest at the Treasury
Department on Nov. 3, where we'll send this message to
Obama, as well as to Treasury Secretary Timothy
Geithner, who's been telling Europe not to institute a
financial transaction tax.

We need a tax like this. It would be a small amount for
Wall Street to pay back to a reeling Main Street. It
would be a down payment on the larger sum needed to put
this country on its feet - to get the chronically
jobless back to work, reduce school overcrowding, and
provide quality health care for all Americans. To do
all that, we'll need to find new sources of revenue.
There's no other way to rescue our communities, save
our families, and make our children healthy.

The alternative is bleak for us all - for those
struggling like Steven Cross in Minnesota and for the 1
percent. Our protests are for our patients and for our
country. We won't stop until an agenda to rebuild Main
Street is secured.

Deborah Burger, RN, is co-president of National Nurses
United, the largest union and professional association
of U.S. registered nurses, with 170,000 members. She
will attend the G-20 Summit in Cannes, France, to
express support for a meaningful global tax on
financial transactions. nationalnursesunited.org

Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)

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