Portside Labor



2012-06-19 00:00:00

Actor Mark Ruffalo and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello
have launched a new US campaign for a "Robin Hood tax", a
small levy on Wall Street transactions that organisers say
could generate hundred of billions of dollars a year.

The campaign, backed by National Nurses United, the largest
nursing union in the US, has already launched in 14
countries, including the UK, France and Germany.

Organisers of the campaign, which also features Coldplay
singer Chris Martin, are calling for a tax of "less than
half of 1%" on Wall Street transactions, which they say
would not affect most Americans' financial activity.

Adopting the 99% language of the Occupy movement, the
campaign said the tax would "easy to enforce and tough to

"This is a tax on Wall Street, which created the greatest
economic crisis in our nation and globally since the Great
Depression," a statement said on the movement's website.

"The same people who have returned to record profits and
bonuses while ordinary Americans, the 99%, continue to pay
the price of their crisis."

Supporters are encouraged to take a $1 bill and draw a Robin
Hood-style hat on George Washington's head

A video released to coincide with the launch encourages
supporters to take a $1 bill and draw a Robin Hood- style hat
on George Washington's head along with a mask over his eyes
"because the government is robbing our people at this
particular point".

In a blogpost on the campaign's website, Ruffalo said that
the "tragic irony" of the financial crisis was that "while
ordinary Americans are still picking up the pieces today,
those most responsible - Wall Street - have returned to their
stranger-than-fiction reality".

"A Robin Hood Tax would raise revenue from Wall Street while
reining in their worst excesses - helping to rebalance the
American economy," Ruffalo said.

"For all these big ambitions, the tax is surprisingly small:
less than half of 1%, or about 50¢ on every $100 of trades.
It would apply not to ordinary Americans (the rate is set so
low precisely to avoid impacting ordinary people and
businesses) but to Wall Street's sprawling, churning
predatory casino-style trading that helped drive the
financial crisis. We're talking high- frequency trades
carried out by computer algorithms, billion-dollar bets on
currency fluctuations, credit default swaps and other

"Because these financial markets have grown so large, the tax
is capable of raising hundreds of billions of dollars a
year. Money that could stop foreclosures, fund new jobs and
help repair the social safety net in the US."

Since the first Robin Hood Tax campaign launched in the UK in
2010 it has been supported by economists, charities and
various celebrities. Bill Gates gave his backing to the tax
last year, presenting a report - Innovation with Impact -
commissioned by Nicolas Sarkozy to the G20 meeting in

The US campaign launch comes after hundreds of registered
nurses travelled to Chicago in May, demonstrating with Rage
Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello for the Robin Hood
Tax ahead of the Nato summit.

On Tuesday supporters were expected to rally at JP Morgan
Chase's offices in New York, the demonstration coinciding
with JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon appearing in front
of Congress. Dimon will be quizzed by the house financial
services committee over his bank losing $2bn on high-risk
derivative trading.

[photo - andertoons -




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