Economics for the Earth Blog

Robin Hood calls on Jack Lew to pledge a real recovery through Wall Street sales tax

Posted Feb. 13, 2013 / Posted by: Lisa Matthes

Poll findings show broad public support for tax on Wall Street speculation

Washington, D.C. -- Wearing their signature Robin Hood hats, U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign advocates brought their message of a Wall Street sales tax directly into the confirmation hearing of Jack Lew before the Senate Finance Committee this morning: The next Treasury Secretary needs to give his highest priority to raising revenue for Main Street and the many communities still suffering from the financial collapse of 2008. Robin Hood called upon Lew to pledge his support for the Robin Hood Tax, embodied in the Inclusive Prosperity Act, or Ellison bill.

“Jack Lew can testify to the fact that millions of Americans have been left out of the recovery,” said Mike Tikili of Health GAP. “He is well aware that trillions of dollars were committed to banks and nothing to the people injured by Wall Street. We need a fair tax system and the Robin Hood Tax is critical. America’s waiting to hear that from Jack Lew.”

America is behind the tax, according to recent polling commissioned by Friends of the Earth. The survey, conducted in mid-December, shows broad public support for a financial transaction tax. Among American voters, two-thirds favored the tax, saying yes to “taxes on Wall Street banks that helped create our economic problems.” A majority of poll respondents favored reining in “the casino culture of Wall Street” and “skimming the fat off a sector that can afford to pay.” Respondents indicated several areas where the tax revenue should be directed, including “shoring up Social Security and Medicare,” as well as “helping the world’s poor deal with the impacts of climate change.” The poll was carried out by the Mellman Group.

The Robin Hood Tax, reflected in a bill to be re-introduced this Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), entails a small sales tax on trading in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies to raise up to $350 billion a year. The goal of the tax is to bring a real recovery to Main Street with jobs at living wages, retirement with dignity, quality education and healthcare, an environmental clean up and the rebuilding of infrastructure. Robin Hood also calls for revenue to be directed to international efforts for HIV/AIDS research and treatment and to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Healthcare advocates, labor, small business, religious groups, consumer and environmental organizations and others -- with total memberships in the millions -- have endorsed the Robin Hood Tax. In addition to much-needed annual revenue to start a real recovery, the tax would bring stability to markets rocked by reckless trading and stabilize price spikes caused by excessive speculation.

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. “It’s time for the U.S. to join the industrial world -- all the major stock exchanges – in this effort,” said Health GAP’s Tikili.

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Contact:
Carl Ginsburg, 917-405-1060
Doug Gordon, 202-494-5141
Karen Orenstein (regarding the poll), 202-640-8679

National survey on a Financial Transaction Tax (Report)

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