When The Nation published its "People’s Platform" prior to the recent Republican and Democratic conventions, the first plank in the proposal to move our politics in “a more boldly progressive direction” was a call for a Robin Hood Tax.
The People’s Platform declared:
Michael Moore was right when he said, ‘America is not broke.’ But America will act like it is as long as politicians of both parties fail to challenge the prevailing view that our resources are insufficient to maintain Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—let alone expand essential programs to meet pressing social needs. Yes, of course it is necessary to rescind the Bush/Cheney tax cuts for the rich. But at a time when so much of our economy involves the rapid trading of financial instruments, it is also time to impose a financial transactions tax on the speculators who caused an economic meltdown that continues to inflict pain here and abroad.
Celebrating the campaign of the National Nurses United union to win support for a “Robin Hood Tax” on every trade to fund social services and rebuild communities, the platform argued that: “Democrats should make this common-sense levy central to their agenda, part of a long-term vision for moving America from a Wall Street–driven casino capitalism to a Main Street–focused caring, clean and green economics.”
That’s what is happening now, as Congressman Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, moves to introduce the most detailed proposal yet for a robust Financial Transaction Tax.
Ellison’s “Inclusive Prosperity Act” would impose a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades. It would also tax trades in bonds, derivatives and currency.
That could add as much as $350 billion a year to the federal treasury, providing vital resources that—in combination with the elimination of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and aggressive moves to prevent the sheltering of assets in tax havens—would make a mockery of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s fantastical claims about fiscal crisis.
“We’re not broke,” Ellison says of the United States. “We’ve got plenty of money. It’s just not in the hands of the American people because the people with so much of the wealth bought lobbyists and influence to get loopholes for themselves so that they would not have to pay for the civilization that is America.”