Major New Campaign for Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street Launches in US Today with Celebrities, Economists & Activists

National Nurses United, June 19, 2012
Tax on Wall Street Transactions Could Raise Hundreds of Billions in the US for Education, Jobs, Health Care and to Address AIDS, Climate Here and Around the World.
As JP Morgan Chief Jamie Dimon Testifies in Congress, Nationwide
 Rallies in Major Cities & Online Video Launched in Support of Campaign.

Washington - Dozens of national organizations, celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, renowned economists including Jeffrey Sachs, and former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs executives and global leaders such as Desmond Tutu joined today for an unprecedented coalition, calling for a “Robin Hood Tax” on Wall Street.

In many cities and towns across the country, America's biggest nurses union along with hundreds of students, climate and AIDS activists, and faith leaders took to the streets in rallies organized in support of the new campaign.

“By placing a tiny tax on Wall Street - less than half of 1% – we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. That’s money that could go towards investing in jobs, health care, housing and our schools; to end the student debt crisis and the AIDS pandemic and to halt climate change and poverty,” said Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP (Global Access Project).

Today, actor Mark Ruffalo, star of the current movie The Avengers, released a video calling on Americans to join the campaign. He was joined in the video by Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. The video features Ruffalo drawing a Robin Hood mask on a dollar bill and calling on others to do the same.

“Wall Street and the big banks are exploiting tax loopholes while generating record profits and being rewarded with billions in bailouts and bonuses. Most of the recovery thus far has benefited the top 1%, not the 99%. It’s time for Wall Street to give back what it has taken from our country,” said Jean Ross, RN and co-president, of National Nurses United. “The Robin Hood Tax is easy to enforce, tough to evade and won't touch the bank accounts, pensions or savings of the vast majority of the American people.”

“The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax with a big ambition – to get us back on our feet through nothing more complicated than asking Wall Street to pay their fair share,” said Leigh Blake of Act V, an AIDS advocacy group.

Economists estimate that we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually by placing a small tax of 50 cents on every $100 of trades in stocks, and even less on bonds, derivatives and currencies. Experts also suggest that such a policy would help limit the reckless short-term speculation that threatens financial stability. Over 1,000 leading economists have endorsed the policy, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.

As the Robin Hood Tax Campaign launched, members of Congress were expected to question JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, whose trading loss of more than $2 billion caused many to underscore the need for new regulation and taxation of the financial sector to prevent future incidents.

“The Robin Hood Tax will not just begin to bring basic tax fairness to Wall Street, it will help curb the destructive gambling that drove the crisis and, as we see so clearly at JPMorgan Chase, continues to threaten our economic stability and security,” said Liz Ryan Murray, Policy Director of the National People’s Action.

In 15 cities across the country, including New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles, activists echoed that call, rallying outside of JP Morgan and other financial institutions in support of the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street transactions.

From 1914 until 1966, the United States enforced a Robin Hood tax that raised revenue from every sale or transfer of stock. The tax benefited average Americans and helped grow the middle class. Forty countries have employed this practice - and the policy is expected to be adopted in Europe this year.