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The Nation

We Need a Robin Hood Tax—Not Cuts in Food Stamps

I saw a man dressed as Robin Hood on Halloween and I almost begged him to stay around.

We need Robin Hood and his merry band of wealth redistribution specialists not just on Halloween but every day, and this year in particular we need him on November 1.

That’s when $332 million in cuts to the food stamp or SNAP program go into effect. Three point one million low-wage workers, seniors, veterans and children are losing urgently needed aid.  And that’s just the cuts the President and Congress enacted in 2010. We need Robin Hood because Congress is talking about taking $39 billion more. And we need Robin because while 1.2 million poor children are going to be eating even less, 400 already rich Americans are enjoying even more.

Take a look at the Forbes 400 List. While the working poor have taken cut after cut, the richest Americans have seen their wealth double in the last ten years.

We need Robin Hood because between them those 400 are worth just over $2 trillion dollars. That’s two thousand billion. We only need the small change on that to stop those food stamp cuts. Robin Hood would know what to do.

He’d head over to Steve A Cohen. It says in the papers that he’s getting ready to sell some of his art collection at auction. Steve Cohen has no business selling art. He has no business being on the street. Steve Cohen should be in jail. Cohen heads up SAC Capital—a hedge fund. Six of his former employees have pleaded guilty to insider trading. The firm’s facing criminal and civil suits and fines and penalties but Cohen’s not even feeling it because he’s worth $9.4 billion dollars.

Steven Cohen could wake up tomorrow and restore those $332 million in cut food stamps—and make it back by dinnertime selling Warhols.

Imbalance like this is too big a job for one man, even with a merry band. Luckily there is a way to keep Robin Hood around.

Nurses, AIDS activists and environmentalists were in Washington this week telling Congress how. What the super rich hedge funders need to be paying aren’t fines and penalties, but their fair share of taxes says National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro. A tiny tax on Wall Street trades could generate $350 billion: enough to restore the food stamp program and then some.

There’s already a bill in the House: The Inclusive Prosperity Act so how about it? We need you Robin Hood, and the Robin Hood Tax all year.

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including "Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man" (2005).  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media, and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media. lauraflanders.org

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