New Campaign for Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street Begins

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Celebrities, national organizations, global leaders, and economists rallied today in New York, where they called for a “Robin Hood Tax” on Wall Street. The coalition included celebrities Mark Ruffalo, Chris Martin, and Tom Morello. Economist Jeffery Sachs, former Goldman Sachs executives, and global leader Desmond Tutu joined in as well, to support the new tax.

The United States’ largest nurses union, National Nurses United, as well as students, AIDS and environmental activists, and several faith leaders plan to visit branches of JP Morgan Chase in 15 different cities. New York, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles are among the collection. The group has arranged to appear both before Congress and JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon in efforts to hold JP Morgan accountable for the corporation’s $2 billion trading loss. This astronomical loss has caused many people to emphasize the importance of implementing regulation and taxation of the financial sector to avoid future occurrences.

“The Robin Hood Tax campaign that launches in the US today offers us a solution to kick-start our economy, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to help those who have lost out as a result of the financial crisis they did nothing to cause – not just here in America, but around the world,” said actor and director Mark Ruffalo, in a statement.

Ruffalo, joined by Chris Martin and Tom Morello, also released a video to garnish more public support for the campaign. In it, Ruffalo draws a Robin Hood mask on a dollar bill to propagate the message of the campaign.

Economists and experts expect that a small “Robin Hood Tax” placed on stocks, bonds, derivatives, and currencies could potentially generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year, as well as further promote financial stability domestically and worldwide. More than 1,000 renowned economists avidly support the policy, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.

“There are huge, quick transactions that add to the churning and speculation in international markets that has helped to bring the world economy to the perilous state that it’s in right now,” said economist Jeffrey Sachs. “The time has really arrived to put a Robin Hood tax in place. Many countries around the world are doing so. It’s time for the United States to do the same.”

Liz Ryan Murray, Policy Director of National People’s Action said, “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.”

The Robin Hood Tax is not entirely unprecedented in the United States. A tax from 1914-1966 raised revenue from every sale or transfer of stock. Proponents say implementing this type of tax again, given the United States’ current economic state, should succeed. Forty other countries around the world have adopted similar Robin Hood Tax measures, with Europe expected to employ the tax later this year.