For Immediate Release
Charles Idelson, 510-273-2232,
Jennifer Flynn, 212-537-0575
Carl Ginsburg, 917-405-1060
Robin Hood Tax Coalition Calls on Congress to Fulfill Dr. King’s Vision of Social and Economic Justice
WASHINGTON - With Americans marking the 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just days earlier, a broad coalition of registered nurses, organized labor, anti-AIDS advocates, college students, clergy, and other community activists will converge on 25 U.S. cities Wednesday to amplify the call for a Wall Street financial transactions tax to reverse the country’s crippling inequality.
Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bond, and derivatives —a tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay for a pair of shoes – could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually.
That revenue, in turn, can be re-directed from wealthy investors, who have surplus income, to poor and working-class Americans who don’t have nearly enough. Guaranteeing healthcare for all, eradicating AIDS, student debt relief, funding jobs at living wages, infrastructure repair, and fighting climate change are among the programs that could be funded by a financial transactions levy, nicknamed the Robin Hood Tax.
The Robin Hood coalition will hold vigils in Dr. King’s memory outside Congressional offices in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Vermont followed by visits to legislators asking them to support the Robin Hood Tax.
See a full list of the sites and actions of the vigils at http://www.robinhoodtax.org/april-8th-day-action
Just last month, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) reintroduced HR 1464, or the Inclusive Prosperity Act. The bill embodies the Robin Hood Tax Campaign which is widely viewed as inspired by King’s poetic reimagining of the nation as a Beloved Community in which wealth is shared, material needs met, and finance is a tool of the people.
The campaign is endorsed by 172 national organizations, including National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses, National People’s Action, a network of grassroots campaigns, the Moral Monday movement and Health GAP, and scores of economists and iconic figures, such as South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, and Microsoft magnate Bill Gates.
King was fatally shot April 4, 1968 outside a hotel in Memphis, where he’d traveled to support striking garbage handlers demanding better pay and a safer workplace.
“Our goal,” King wrote in the introduction of a 1957 Southern Christian Leadership Conference pamphlet, “is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
“Inequality in health, still rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty, all critical causes of Dr. King’s life, continue to devastate far too many families. We need the Robin Hood Tax to protect our health, our families, our communities, and our nation,” said National Nurses United Co-President Deborah Burger, RN.
“Rev. Dr. King boldly proclaimed that we as a nation must undergo a ‘radical revolution of values’ to become a society that puts people ahead of profits. With the gap between the rich and everyone else rising to new heights, we must heed Dr. King’s words now more than ever,” says George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action. “The Robin Hood Tax would be a step towards a society that puts people and the planet first, taking a small percentage of profits from the few to benefit the many.”
“We are at a historic moment where science shows we can actually end the AIDS pandemic, if we invest in the resources to scale up treatment. The Robin Hood Tax is a tool that will allow us to reprioritize the strengthening of healthcare systems while financing access to lifesaving medications for those in need,” said Michael A. Tikili, national field organizer for Health GAP (Global Action Project).
The U.S. Robin Hood Tax would set a 0.5% tax on the trading of stocks, 50 cents on every $100 of trades, and lesser rates on trading in bonds, derivatives and currencies in the U.S. It marks the return of a tax on financial transactions in place in this country during the years 1914 to 1966. Some form of the financial tax is in place today in more than 40 countries.
Who's behind it?
We are Nobel Prize-winning economists, former US Vice Presidents and founders of Microsoft.
We are Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director, the UN’s Secretary General and the Archbishop of Capetown.
We are union members, nurses, small business owners, community organizers, faith leaders, AIDS activists, environmentalists, movie stars and musicians, and we are part of a global movement of more than 220 million people in 25 countries who are fighting for a Robin Hood Tax – a small tax on Wall Street trades.
We are a force to be reckoned with, and we are demanding justice.