How to Make Robin Hood Proud

By Moberg, David | In These Times, December 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

How to Make Robin Hood Proud

Moberg, David, In These Times

The push for taxing financial transactions gains steam in Europe - will the United States follow suit?

TAX WALL STREET" READ a simple, homemade placard high above the crowd of thousands of members of unions, community groups and Occupy activists protesting outside the mid-October convention of bankers and futures traders in downtown Chicago. Curtís Smith, president of the local affiliate of National People's Action, a network of community organizations focused on the mortgage crisis and financial industry reform, seized a microphone to detail the demand.

Among other measures, Smith proposed a tax on financia! transactions, including the sale of stock, bonds and derivatives. The tax would make Wall Street better serve the Main Street economy, and it would generate tens - even several hundreds - of billions of dollars annually in much-needed revenue for worthy projects. Governments would collect the tax on financial transactions most prone to harmful speculation, and wealthy individuals and financial institutions would mainly pay. That's why NPA and British campaigners call it the "Robin Hood tax."

In the weeks before the Chicago protests, the European Commission had proposed a financial transaction tax for Europe by 2014- reversing its earlier rejection of an FTT. Conservative leaders of both France and Germany- Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel- vowed to press adoption of the tax at the Gzo leaders meeting in France in early November, despite opposition from the conservative British government and the Obama administration. On November 3, international union delegations demonstrated for an FTT outside the G2O conference.

In Washington on the same day, National Nurses United protested with other unions and allies, urging Congress to "Heal America/Tax Wall Street," and labor-community rallies around the country urged political leaders to enact the tax. And in Congress, one day earlier, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) re-introduced their proposal for a very modest FTT.

The idea of imposing a very small tax on some sales of financial products is not new; British economist John Maynard Keynes proposed a stock speculation tax in the 19303. In recent years, the FTT has picked up support from some prominent business leaders (including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) and many economists, from Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman to the 1,000 economists from 53 nations who signed a letter last April saying an FTT was "technically feasible" and "morally right.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

How to Make Robin Hood Proud


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?