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U.S. Rep Introduces 'Robin Hood Tax' to Fight Austerity-Agenda

Support rally called for April 20 in DC

(Photo: Robin Hood Tax Campaign)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) reintroduced The Inclusive Prosperity Act, HR 1579, on Wednesday, a financial transaction tax "that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue annually at a time of great need, and allow the join the rest of the world in a growing system of financial transaction taxes," the Robin Hood Tax Campaign announced.

“This is a huge day,” Rep. Ellison stated at a press conference Wednesday. “This is a small tax on Wall Street transactions to meet the needs of our nation...It will reduce harmful market speculation. Gambling on Wall Street does not benefit our society.”

The Robin Hood Tax is a micro-tax on Wall Street transactions such as the trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments that would, according to Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth U.S., "curb harmful speculation and raise hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue to pay for urgently-needed public goods and services, like helping the poor cope with the threats to public health and food shortages caused by our changing climate."

The act would generate up to of $300 billion per year in tax revenues, according to University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Robert Pollin. "These funds would enable us to fight against the austerity-agenda cuts to Social Security, Medicare, public education and other vital social programs," he stated.

HR 1579 has the backing of more than 140 organizations representing millions of members in labor unions, religious groups, health advocates, consumers, housing activists, environmentalists, small businesses and others, according to the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.

Forty countries have implemented financial transactions taxes, more than one thousand economists have endorsed the FTT and 11 European nations are in the process of implementing a regional FTT.

“Wall Street speculation has become a house of cards, a game of computer-driven bets on bets, far removed from real-world investments in real economic activity,” wrote Ralph Nader in statement of support for HR 1579. “Wall Street speculation is currently subject to zero sales tax on its trillions of dollars of annual transactions- while consumers regularly pay sales taxes even on daily necessities.”

"We have a revenue crisis in America,” said George Goehl, executive director, National People’s Action, and a founding member of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign with National Nurses United and Health GAP. “But the good news is that we know where the money is. It's not in grandma’s social security check, it’s not in our children’s classroom, and it’s not in the pockets of working class families. It’s on Wall Street."

The bill's introduction comes ahead of a planned rally on Saturday, April 20 in Washington, DC, to urge to support to the 'Robin Hood Tax'.

Demonstrators including groups such as the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, Friends of the Earth, and the National Organization for Women will gather at 12 noon at Murrow Park for a rally followed by a march to the White House and U.S. Treasury Department and coincides with meetings of G-20 finance ministers.

For more information on the march click here.


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