Economics for the Earth Blog

Tally ho! Backed by 62 organizations, Robin Hood seeks top Treasury post

Posted Dec. 21, 2012 / Posted by: Karen Orenstein

Robin Hood, a champion of ordinary people, made a stop in Washington, D.C. this week -- to put his hat in the ring to replace outgoing U.S. Treasury Sectary Tim Geithner, a champion of Wall Street. Mr. Hood is running on a platform of taxing Wall Street greed to pay for global need.

Mr. Hood’s namesake, the Robin Hood Tax (also known as a financial transaction tax), would see the placement of a micro-tax on Wall Street trading that would raise hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue to pay for urgently-needed public goods and services, like helping the poor worldwide cope with the threats to public health and food shortages caused by our changing climate. It would also curb harmful speculation by Wall Street traders.

Accosted multiple times by the Grinch as he attempted to apply for the position at the Department of Treasury, the White House, and, finally, the Office of Personnel Management, Mr. Hood declared:

If I am appointed it will mean that Wall Street didn’t win the election…The Wall Street tax could fund 9 million new jobs that pay more than $38,000 a year or save 1.7 million homes from foreclosure…It could fund guaranteed healthcare for all, end HIV/AIDS in a generation, stop poverty and hunger, and fund the transition to a non-fossil fuel based economy.
Robin gets kicked out of the </br>Treasury office

Robin gets kicked out of the Treasury

Throughout the duration, Robin Hood carried with him a letter to President Obama endorsed by 62 groups representing unions, religious associations, health activists, and consumer, development and environmental groups. The letter urged Obama “to nominate a candidate for Secretary of Treasury who will (1) champion a financial transaction tax and (2) dedicate the revenue raised to fund public services that keep people and the planet healthy and whole, at home and around the world.” (A copy of the letter can be found below.)

Organizations on the letter included Friends of the Earth U.S., National Nurses United, National Organization for Women, Utilities Workers Union of America, Public Citizen, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Health GAP, Progressive Democrats of America, Main Street Alliance, ActionAid USA, Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch, National People's Action, Catholics United, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and Communications Workers of America.

Heading to the OPM as a last resort.
A last-ditch effort to submit an application at the Office of Personnel Management.

Friends of the legendary folk hero can look forward to more appearances in 2013, building on foundations laid in 2012 in Congress to pass a Wall Street tax that would make Robin Hood happy --  The Inclusive Prosperity Act, HR 6411, sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and 16 co-sponsors.


20 December 2012

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your re-election. As you prepare your cabinet for your second term, we urge you to nominate a candidate for Secretary of Treasury who will (1) champion a financial transaction tax and (2) dedicate the revenue raised to fund public services that keep people and the planet healthy and whole, at home and around the world.

Also known as a Robin Hood Tax, a financial transaction tax would levy a minuscule fee on financial transactions involving stocks, bonds, currency, and derivatives. This would generate hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue to pay for desperately needed public goods -- like funds to help developing countries deal with climate change, provide healthcare and education for all, and help end the AIDS pandemic. Such taxes would also discourage the high frequency trading that, according to a recent report by the chief economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is hurting traditional investors.

This is a particularly important time for a fresh approach, now that many of our nation’s closest economic partners are moving forward on this issue.  A group of 11 European countries has committed to implementing a coordinated financial transaction tax. One of them, France, has announced that a portion of its FTT-generated revenue will go toward climate and development.

By championing a Robin Hood Tax, a new Treasury Secretary would help advance your goals of strengthened international financial coordination, fair taxation, and meeting the needs of ordinary people.

We look forward to working with you to make the Robin Hood Tax a reality in your second term. We would be pleased to meet with you and your representatives to discuss these matters at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your consideration.


ActionAid USA
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Alliance for a Just Society
American Income Life
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Catholics United
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Community, Democracy and Ecology
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Chicago Political Economy Group
Communications Workers of America
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Consumer Watchdog
Farm Labor Organizing Committee
Food & Water Watch
Foreign Policy in Focus
Foundation Earth
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth US
Gender Action
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Global Economy Project, Institute for Policy Studies
Government Accountability Project
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Green Delaware
Health GAP
HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Holy Cross International Justice Office
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
International Forum on Globalization
International Rivers
Jubilee USA Network
Labor Network for Sustainability
Left Labor Project
Main Street Alliance
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Nurses United
National Organization for Women
National People's Action
Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project
New Rules for Global Finance
Northside P.O.W.E.R
Oil Change International
People Project
Polis-tics, Inc
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen
Rainforest Action Network
Right to the City
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation Justice Committee
Strong Economy For All Coalition
Tax Justice Network USA
United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America
Utility Workers Union of America
VOCAL New York
WaterAid in America
Wealth for the Common Good

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